- Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Interest Group aims at raising awareness of neurological and chronic pain disorders and encouraging research and access to innovative treatments
- Grünenthal co-sponsors the initiative and presents the interactive ‘pain box’ experience at the European launch Event
Brussels, February 24th, 2015 – One out of five Europeans is affected by chronic pain each year.1 But in 80 percent of cases physicians over- or underestimate the level of pain-related impairment of their patients.2 Therefore, it is crucial that patients are able to describe their symptoms as detailed as possible to their doctor to allow early diagnosis and increase chances of effective pain relief – an insight which has motivated Grünenthal to develop its “My pain feels like…” patient initiative, aiming at facilitating communication between patients and physicians. As part of this ongoing commitment to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from debilitating conditions such as localized neuropathic pain, Grünenthal now co-sponsors a new MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain. This cross-national interest group of MEPs with a particular interest in improving the welfare of people living with neurological and chronic pain disorders was officially launched at the European Parliament today. It is supported by the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) and Pain Alliance Europe (PAE), pan-European umbrella organizations which together represent national and European patient advocacy groups.
Chronic pain disorders can lead to enormous individual suffering, loss of productivity and also represent a major economic burden.1,3 “The MEP Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain will initially focus on common issues faced by those affected by these disorders; one of the biggest being stigma”, says Joop van Griensven, President of Pain Alliance Europe. “In many cases the invisible nature of brain, mind and pain disorders adds to this societal problem. Allowing people to experience what these patients live with every day is one way of raising awareness and decreasing the stigma faced by those living with these conditions.” Alberto Grua, Chief Commercial Officer Europe, Australia and North America at Grünenthal, adds: “As a pharmaceutical R&D focused company with a strong expertise in pain therapy, we are committed to gain a deeper understanding of the unmet needs of our patients. We want to place the patient at the center of all our efforts and will continue to collaborate closely with European advocacy organizations like Pain Alliance Europe and EFNA to help giving patients a clear voice.”
On the occasion of today’s launch event in Brussels, Grünenthal provided policy makers and other stakeholders with the opportunity to experience a realistic simulation of localized neuropathic pain onsite. Visitors of the “My pain feels like…” information booth at the parliament were invited to take part in the “My pain feels like…” ‘pain box’ demonstration. This psychophysical testing was developed by Professor Roberto Casale from the Montescano Pain School of Italy. “The ‘pain box’ experience truly is an eye-opener for many people, because it makes them really understand what neuropathic pain feels like and why there are so many individual descriptions for it”, says Professor Casale. Another centerpiece of the initiative is the educational website www.mypainfeelslike.com, where patients can find out more about the pain they are suffering from, read about other patient experiences and complete and download the accompanying pain questionnaire, which helps them to describe the pain they feel with their own words when talking to their doctors.
The impact of the patient-focused “My pain feels like…” campaign has not gone unnoticed: In 2014, Grünenthal’s initiative has been awarded the status of European best practice and it is currently shortlisted for the eyeforpharma Barcelona Awards to be announced in March 2015. During the next couple of weeks, the “My pain feels like…” campaign will pick up further speed: new background information on various kinds of nerve pain will be added to the website and will bring even more added value to patients with chronic pain.
1 Breivik H (2006). Survey of chronic pain in Europe: Prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment. Eur J Pain 10(4): 287-333.
2 Müller-Schwefe G., et al (2011). Make a CHANGE: optimising communication and pain management decisions. CMRO 27(2): 481-488.
3 Philipps CJ (2006). Economic burden of chronic pain. Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res 6(5): 591-601.
4 Pal M et al (2009). Vanilloid receptor antagonists: emerging class of novel anti-inflammatory agents for pain management. Curr Pharm Des 15: 1008-26.
5 Mick G et al (2012). What is localised neuropathic pain? A first proposal to characterise and define a widely used term. Pain manage 2(1): 71-77.
6 Dworkin RH, O'Connor AB, Backonja M, et al (2007). Pharmacologic management of neuropathic pain: evidence-based recommendations. Pain; 132:237-51.
About “My pain feels like…”
The “My pain feels like…” initiative has been developed by Grünenthal in collaboration with the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology & Pain Rehabilitation Unit, Montescano, Italy. On the website www.mypainfeelslike.com, patients can find out more about the pain they are suffering from and also learn from other patients’ experiences. Central part of the project is the “My pain feels like…” questionnaire, which helps patients to describe more in detail how their pain feels like, how it affects their life and where the pain is located. Patients record their symptoms and then print out the completed questionnaire for the next doctor appointment. This assessment can aid healthcare professionals in the diagnostic process and in choosing the appropriate treatment.
About neuropathic pain
Over 26 million people worldwide suffer from neuropathic pain.4 Approximately 60 percent can be identified as localized neuropathic pain (LNP) as it affects a circumscribed area of the body.5 Only 40-60 percent of neuropathic pain patients achieve adequate pain relief.6 They often undergo ‘trial and error’ treatments or endure a stepwise treatment approach over months and years3. These patients suffer emotionally, physically, psychologically and socially.
The Grünenthal Group is an independent, family-owned, international research-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Aachen, Germany. Building on its unique position in pain treatment, its objective is to become the most patient-centric company in the field of pain and thus to be a leader in therapy innovation.
Grünenthal is one of the last five remaining research-oriented pharmaceutical companies with headquarters in Germany which sustainably invests in research and development. Research and development costs amounted to about 27 percent of revenues in 2013. We are intensely focused on discovering new ways to treat pain better and more effectively, with fewer side-effects than current therapies.
Altogether, the Grünenthal Group has affiliates in 25 countries worldwide. Grünenthal products are sold in more than 155 countries and approx. 5,500 employees are working for the Grünenthal Group worldwide. More information: www.grunenthal.com.