by Srinivasa Raja and Rolf-Detlef Treede
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) declared at the last World Congress on Pain in Buenos Aires that the period, October 2014 to December 2015, would be the Global Year Against Neuropathic Pain. The IASP recognised that despite the availability of many effective drugs and guidelines for the treatment of neuropathic pain, they are not widely used, and many patients remain under- or untreated. The Global Year campaign will focus on raising international awareness of neuropathic pain and its treatment, and promote the recognition of chronic neuropathic pain as an important health concern. This effort, led by the IASP’s Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group (NeuPSIG) is a combined and collaborative effort between multiple neurology and pain organisations.
Several educational materials are available to health care providers and the public at the IASP’s website. These include factsheets, in English and several other languages defining neuropathic pain, providing an overview of the mechanisms of neuropathic pain, emphasising the epidemiology of neuropathic pain, and highlighting certain common neuropathic pain states. The site also provides other educational resources such as videos on Examination of the Cranial Nerves and Examination of a Patient with Peripheral Neuropathic Pain. Several publications from the IASP educational series “Pain: Clinical Updates” on neuropathic pain and its management as well as reviews will be added to the site in coming weeks. The site will also provide a reading list of select references highlighting varying aspects of neuropathic pain- epidemiology, impact, mechanisms, assessment, diagnosis, and evidence-based management.
A highlight of the activities around the Global Year will be NeuPSIG’s 5th International Congress on Neuropathic Pain that will be held at Nice, France (May 14-17, 2015). The Scientific Programme Committee, chaired by Nadine Attal (France), has developed an exciting, educational programme that includes plenary lectures, workshops and debates. Although the initial deadline for abstract submission is over, late-breaking abstracts can be submitted between January 5th and February 23rd. In addition, a comprehensive meta-analysis of clinical trials to revise the highly cited 2007 NeuPSIG treatment guidelines for the pharmacological management of neuropathic pain will be published early in 2015.
IASP recognises that the availability of essential drugs in the management of neuropathic pain in some nations, especially developing countries may be a limiting factor. To address this we are working with physicians in various developing countries in terms of advocacy to highlight the need for a greater range of choices of drug classes and the inclusion of more drugs for the treatment of neuropathic pain on the national essential medication lists. We hope that this combination of approaches will have an impact in the coming years.
Dr Srinivasa Raja is Chair of the IASP´s Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group (NeuPSIG). Professor Dr Rolf-Detlef Treede is President of the International Association for the Study of Pain.