Chronic & Acute Pain
Pain is a prevalent public health problem that stems from a variety of different injuries or diseases. Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. 1 Pain can be a chronic condition or occur in conjunction with other diseases. It can also prevent patients from being able to seek treatment for conditions such as cancer.
In a 2011 report on pain, the Institutes of Medicine stated that “pain represents a national challenge,” and indicated that a cultural transformation is needed to help address this problem. 2
In the U.S., pain is the most common reason people seek healthcare. As reported by the National Institutes of Health, pain is a major contributor to healthcare costs, with chronic pain being the most common cause of long-term disability. 3
The treatment of chronic pain, in particular, is a significant challenge. There is a great need for new oral therapeutics for the treatment of pain.
The global market for pain management therapeutics was estimated at $60 billion in 2015 with an annual growth rate of over five percent through 2024. 4 In the past 20 years, only a handful of new analgesic drugs have emerged and a number of critical issues exist in drug treatment of chronic pain. Most existing analgesics for persistent pain are relatively ineffective, have a significant adverse effect profile or abuse liability and do not effectively reduce pain in all individuals. Primary treatments for mild to moderate chronic pain include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and narcotic opioid drugs for moderate to severe pain. NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. The long-term use of NSAIDs is associated with significant adverse effects. An estimated 100,000 people suffer gastric damage each year from NSAIDs used in the U.S. and 16,500 deaths annually are associated with NSAIDs use.
The Opioid Crisis – A Silent Epidemic
Opioid pain relievers include drugs such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®) and hydrocodone. In the past two decades, opioid prescriptions have tripled in the U.S. Opioid drug use is linked to significant addiction and abuse liability, as well as additional adverse side effects. In addition to abuse liability, opioid drug use is associated with notable tolerance (less efficacious over time) and central nervous system (CNS) side effects. In 2016 alone, more than 20,000 deaths were associated with prescription opioid abuse. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have reported that overdose deaths from opioid pain relievers have exceeded the deaths involving heroin and cocaine combined. 5
The Next-Generation Analgesic
Algomedix is pioneering a novel approach based on blocking pain at its source in the peripheral nervous system. The molecular target for the new drug is located on the endings of specialized nerve fibers found throughout the body. Hence, the drug does not need to act on the brain to provide adequate pain relief. This non-opioid, non-NSAID drug has many advantages that are expected to solve the principal problems associated with existing opioid, NSAID and repurposed anticonvulsant classes of analgesics, thus providing a next-generation medication for pain relief.
Acute pain affects millions of Americans. Acute pain is the most common cause of emergency room visits. More than 45 million Americans undergo inpatient surgery each year and experience acute surgical pain.6
Opioids have been extensively used in the perioperative pain setting (before, during and after surgery) but are associated with a multitude of undesirable side effects. As such, there has been an increased push toward the use of multimodal pain therapy – using two or more analgesic agents with different mechanisms of action that target different spots in the pain pathway. This combination therapy approach is designed to utilize a synergistic effect and require the use of lower doses of medication. This approach has received strong support in the medical community, including the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Acute Pain Management which states: “Whenever possible, anesthesiologists should use multimodal pain management therapy.” 7
- Institute of Medicine Report from the Committee on Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education: Relieving Pain in America, A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education and Research. The National Academies Press, 2011.
- American Academy of Pain Medicine: Facts and Figures on Pain.
- National Institutes of Health: Fact Sheet – Pain Management. Updated October 2012.
- GBI Research, “Pain management Therapeutics Market to 2017”, Nov. 2011
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers — United States, 1999–2008. November 4, 2011
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. FastStats. Inpatient Surgery. 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/insurg.htm
- Practice Guidelines for Acute Paint Management in the Perioperative Setting. An Updated Report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Acute Pain Management. Anesthesiology 2012