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Chronic pain affects around 20% of Australian adults.
Chronic pain is usually defined, in medical terms, as constant daily pain that is present for at least three of the preceding six months. Chronic pain can have many causes, sometimes it's the result of a severe injury or a disease (eg, arthritis) but it can also have no diagnosable cause.
Prevalence of chronic or persistent pain rises as people age.
Most patients with chronic pain use at least one medicine – and many rely solely on medicine to manage their pain. However, chronic pain is complex and good management requires a mix of physical, psychological and medical treatment. Often opioid narcotics are prescribed as 'pain killers', but their use is limited. Medicines should only be seen as part of a comprehensive pain management plan, rather than an end in themselves.
Last month, the Department of Health's medicines scheduling delegate made an interim decision to support a proposal to re-schedule combination analgesics and cold and flu remedies from Schedules 2 and 3 (pharmacy and pharmacist-only) to Schedule 4 (prescription-only) analgesics.
This has been very unpopular with consumers with 127 public submissions and with only 14 of those in favor of the up-scheduling of codeine analgesics.
Re-scheduling will lead not only to greater inconveniece when you are in pain, but you may need make an appointment with your GP and pay for that consolutation as well. But the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said codeine products did make a difference,
New South Wales government is set to do Australia’s first trial for the medical use of cannabis. University of New South trial Wales’ Chief Investigator Associate Professor Meera Agar – who has led several research studies into the management of terminally ill patients – will lead the research team and focus on how medicinal cannabis can improve poor appetite and appetite-related symptoms, such as nausea, in terminally ill adult cancer patients in their final stages of life.