Focus of Report: The focus of this Health Technology Assessment is to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) compared with alternative treatments to treat postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) in adults.

Technology Description: PRF application is a minimally invasive pain management procedure, the goal of which is to provide pain control without the tissue destruction and painful sequelae associated with conventional (continuous) radiofrequency ablation. PRF is performed in an outpatient setting with use of local anesthetics.

Controversy: Uncertainty remains regarding the use of PRF because of a lack of standardized treatment protocols (including dosing parameters and treatment intervals), effectiveness assessment methodology, and guidelines that recommend the use of PRF for pain associated with PHN. Furthermore, the duration of the effects of PRF is unclear.

Key Questions:

  1. Is PRF effective for reducing pain and/or improving quality of life in adults with PHN?

  2. How does PRF compare with alternative therapies for the treatment of PHN?

  3. Is PRF in patients with PHN safe?

  4. Have definitive patient selection criteria been identified for PRF for the treatment of PHN?

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