“It is a common condition, patients suffer from it, doctors treat it but Medicare doesn’t acknowledge it. It’s chronic pain. But what causes it and why do traditional drugs seem to have little effect?”
This is the introduction to a news story that was shown on our state edition of the Current Affairs program 7.40. Its really exciting that this show has done a few stories on Chronic Pain already this year and although not exactly about CRPS, It still relates back to the treatments and the health system that I and many other Australians rely on.
I posted about the first story here. Australia’s Pain Epidemic
This story by Mike Sexton and shown on 7.30 South Australia, on Fri, 21 Feb, 2014. Duration: 6min 13sec. It starts as stated above and then leads into some horrifying, yet unsurprising statistics that Medicare (Australia) has found that up to 5% of patients in Gp’s clinics are seeking relief from Chronic Pain. It again mentioned that most Australian’s suffering from Chronic Pain wait 2-3 years for a placement in a pain treatment facility. This leads to Gp’s prescribing more and more opioid pain Medications and leads to dependency. Clearly there is a cycle here that must be broken. I’m hoping that the Website will post a manuscript to this story as it has done in the past so that I can post it.
One exciting thing bit of information that I learnt from the story is of a local research project happening right here in South Australia at the Bionomics Facilities in Hindmarsh, is a focus on Ion channels and their role in Chronic Pain. The story went on to report of an investment of 170 million dollars (Aust) being made into this study by Merck & Co. That is pretty exciting really. I went onto the Bionomics Website and found the following:
“Bionomics has entered into a collaboration with Merck & Co. to develop a novel oral treatment for chronic pain. Chronic pain is a severely debilitating condition with a large unmet medical need. Current analgesic medications which include anti-epileptics, anti-arrhythmics, opioids, NSAID’s and anti-depressants, are either ineffective, associated with a range of dose limiting side effects or have the potential for abuse and addiction. Our novel treatment which is expected to deliver greater efficacy and safety than existing pain medications is directed towards an undisclosed target that has been strongly linked to chronic pain in humans.”
Well Im off to investigate further and see what else I can learn about this trial and even if I can participate in any way. 🙂