When the US Pain Foundation recently surveyed 2,378 individuals to better understand the public health crisis of chronic pain, 42% of the respondents said that their top policy issue is the want for new medications for chronic pain. But while there are exciting developments in new therapeutics for migraine conditions, the current state of chronic pain medication as a whole has lagged behind.
“There is a disconnect, an enormous unmet need of treatments for these patients, and there’s the issue that chronic pain isn’t necessarily taken as seriously as other diseases are,” says James Campbell, MD, Professor Emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, author of over 100 peer-reviewed scientific studies in the field of pain research, and founder of the American Pain Foundation. “But that can change: the advocacy community, the patients that are speaking up, are extraordinarily important, because it’s part of letting others know what the impact is and the importance of chronic pain.
That enormous need came across in the results of the US Pain survey: 24% of those who responded said no side effect would prevent them from trying a medication to manage pain. Campbell encourages patients to visit clinicaltrials.gov and search for a study they’d qualify for: trials like these are the only way to show whether a drug works, and may mean you get access to a helpful medication before it’s FDA approved.