Results of a Decima Research survey released today by the Canadian Pain Coalition (CPC) echo issues identified by neuropathic pain patients, in a Harris Poll survey published earlier this year - their illness is not understood and it is.
Results from an international poll conducted by Harris Interactive earlier this year indicated that neuropathic pain, a type of chronic pain caused by an injury to or disease of the nervous system caused extreme disruption in the lives of patients, more in Canada than in the eight other countries surveyed. About half of those surveyed believe their doctors and families don't really understand their pain or its treatments. On average, neuropathic pain patients have taken as many as eight different prescription medications in the search to find a treatment for their pain.
"There is a silent epidemic of pain in Canada," says Dr. Allan Gordon of the Wasser Pain Management Centre, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. "Chronic pain patients, especially those with neuropathic pain, may spend many years seeking a diagnosis and finding effective treatments. During this time they experience pain that negatively impacts every aspect of their lives and often deal with the stigma of an illness that others don't understand or believe is real."
The recent Decima national public opinion survey revealed that only 47 per cent of Canadians surveyed fully believe that chronic pain is real. However, 91 per cent said that chronic pain was an important health issue with 85 per cent noting increased funding is required for pain clinics, pain research and pain medications.
"Data from the Comprehensive Pain Program at Toronto Western Hospital show that at least 50 per cent of all new patients referred over the past three years suffer from neuropathic pain. In general their pain is very difficult to manage. Unfortunately, most patients have very limited access to medications, devices and psychological treatments to help them manage their pain due to either a lack of funding or lack of access to treatment close to where they live," says Dr. Angela Mailis-Gagnon, Director, Comprehensive Pain Program, Toronto Western Hospital.
Studies indicate over 18% of Canadians suffer from severe chronic pain(1) and that amongst those patients an estimated half million suffer from neuropathic or "nerve" pain(2). This pain is often characterized by burning, stabbing, tingling and/or shock-like sensations. With some types of neuropathic pain even the touch of clothing on involved skin triggers an unbearable burning pain. This disease is often frustrating for patients and physicians as it seems to respond poorly to standard pain therapies. A new treatment option is now available in Canada. LYRICA(TM) (pregabalin capsules) is the first treatment approved for the management of neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia.
About the Canadian Pain Coalition
The Canadian Pain Coalition is focused on raising public awareness of the health, social, psychological and economic issues of pain and ensuring that this condition becomes a priority issue for Canada's health care system. For more information about the CPC and National Pain Awareness week, visit www.painhurtscanada.ca. The Decima Survey was completed on behalf of the CPC in November 2005 and financially supported by Pfizer Canada Inc. More than 1,000 adult Canadians from all provinces were interviewed.
About the Harris Poll
The Harris Poll was conducted by Harris Interactive, a worldwide market research and consulting firm, and supported by Pfizer Inc. A total of 1,352 patients previously diagnosed with neuropathic pain (approximately 150 in each of nine participating countries) were surveyed via telephone. The Canadian portion of the survey was conducted from February 17 through April 21, 2005. Initial Harris Poll results were released at the Canadian Pain Society conference May 11, 2005.
About Pfizer Canada Inc.
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines for both humans and animals. Pfizer also manufactures many of the world's best-known over-the-counter healthcare products. Headquartered in Kirkland, Quebec, Pfizer Canada employs more than 2,000 people across the country. Learn more about Pfizer Canada at www.pfizer.ca.
Since 2000, Pfizer has invested more than $1 billion in research and development in Canada.
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