Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not the use of TENS is safe and effective in preventing and treating PHN.

STUDY DESIGN: Two randomized controlled trials and one retrospective observational study that were published in peer-reviewed journals after 2006 in the English language were reviewed.

DATA SOURCES: Studies were found in the PubMed database and selected based on relevance to the research question and whether they evaluated patient oriented outcomes.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Prevention of PHN, determined by absence or presence of symptoms, and reduction of pain due to PHN, using a visual analog scale (VAS).

RESULTS: In the first RCT, Barbarisi et al showed that TENS therapy along with pregabalin caused a statistically significant reduction in pain (p < 0.02) compared to pregabalin plus placebo device. Stepanovic et al studied the use of TENS in preventing PHN and found that it was significantly better than antiviral treatment (p = 0.001). In the retrospective observational study by Kolsek, 0% of patients treated with TENS therapy during acute HZ developed PHN, compared to 28.6% of patients treated with antivirals.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of TENS is both safe and effective in preventing and treating postherpetic neuralgia.