Queen's professor pushing for new clinical trials into chronic pain
Queen’s University Director of Clinical Pain Research Ian Gilron (Anesthesiology) reviewed current drug treatment therapies and concluded drug combinations remain an important and understudied strategy. The management of chronic pain is a common but often neglected aspect of medical illnesses and pain treatment therapies in general.
“Health providers have already started widely using drug combinations in about half of pain patients,” says Dr. Gilron. “However not all combinations have been carefully studied with clinical trials, some combinations may be significantly more effective than single drug therapy and some combinations might be harmful. More study is needed.”
In the United States alone, chronic pain associated with neurological disease affects about 30 per cent of the population and is estimated to cost the U.S. about $650 billion per year in health care costs. Drug therapy is an important part of mitigating those costs; however, current drugs have limited efficiency and dose-limiting toxic effects.
Dr. Gilron says clinical trials must be developed to evaluate the components of drug combinations to determine which drugs work most effectively together. “Available evidence showing that some, but not all, combinations are superior to their single-agent components suggest continued research in this area has the potential to improve clinical outcomes.”
Dr. Gilron’s review on the future direction of combination drug therapy was published in the latest issue of The Lancet.