Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Price of Pain

The management of pain is big business, both in the U.S. and worldwide. There are more than 1.5 billion people around the world suffering from chronic pain of some sort. These individuals flock to pain management doctors or clinics to get help with their chronic pain. The pain management industry currently tops $45 billion and it is expected to near $60 billion in the next three years. While many individuals rely on prescription pain killers to "manage" their pain, this can get quite expensive and can lead to drug dependence and even addiction.

An alternative to prescription drugs for pain management is over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, but these drugs are often ineffective at handling the magnitude of chronic pain and long-term use has been linked to a myriad of health issues. NeurogesX, a biotechnology company, is dedicated to developing pain management therapies that do not rely on harmful medications. Qutenza, which is currently its leading product, uses a patch to deliver a prescription-strength amount of capsaicin to an area of pain (NeurogesX). Capsaicin is the chemical found in chili peppers that give them their heat. This chemical also relieves pain associated with neuropathy.

While some pain management clinics are simply "pill mills" where people can get their hands on prescription pain killers for the right place, there are some legitimate pain management clinics and many people do need help managing their chronic pain. Many states have started cracking down on the number of pain clinics allowed, which may mean people suffering from real pain may not be able to get help managing it. This is where Qutenza and other products like it come into play. As they are non-narcotic, they are not habit forming and can help billions of people manage their pain safely.

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