Former FDA Commissioner Slanders Pain Patients

Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler Slanders Pain Patients | Observer

In a recent New York Times op/ed, Dr. David Kessler, the former head of the FDA, labelled chronic pain patients as addicts if they insist they need opioid painkillers like OxyContin to control debilitating pain.

The piece was ostensibly about the failure of the medical profession to foresee the prescription opioid epidemic, but Mr. Kessler’s harshest words fell on patients.

“Some patients will make heart-rending pleas that they cannot live without their opioids. But we have failed to see this for what it is, the signature of addiction: ‘I need it. I can’t get better or normal without it,’” he wrote.

That definition would apply to “needing” food as well then.  Continue reading

What is Lyme Disease and Why Should I Care?

What is Lyme Disease and Why Should I Care? – by Carolyn Noel, PAINS Webmaster

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. The CDC estimates that while around 300,000 cases are diagnosed, only about 1/10 of the cases are actually reported.

A more accurate count of the actual cases could be “helpful for policymakers and scientists, research and development and the general public to have the idea of the magnitude of the problem.”   Continue reading

New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans

Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans

MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) – Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.   Continue reading

Antiviral Combo as Next Fibromyalgia Drug

Antiviral Combo May be Next Blockbuster Fibromyalgia Drug – National Pain Report – May 2, 2016 – By Donna Gregory Burch

A general surgeon with a small practice in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Dr. William “Skip” Pridgen admits he’s an unlikely creator for the next blockbuster fibromyalgia drug.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has fast tracked Pridgen’s novel pairing of famciclovir (Famvir), a common antiviral, with celecoxib (Celebrex), an anti-inflammatory arthritis drug, for a phase III trial next year.

Based on data from a 2014 phase II trial, the combo known as IMC-1 could give some stiff competition to Lyrica and Cymbalta, two of the most profitable drugs prescribed for fibromyalgia.   Continue reading

‘Opioid Epidemic’ Myths

‘Opioid Epidemic’ Myths – from Reason.com | Jacob Sullum | May 18, 2016

Finally a “reasonable” article about opioids, pointing out what pain patients have been trying to get across to the public.

Prescription painkillers are not as deadly or as addictive as commonly claimed.

Last week the House of Representatives approved what The New York Times described as “a mountain of bills addressing the nation’s opioid abuse crisis.” The 18 bills passed “by huge bipartisan margins.”

A flurry of legislative activity like this usually materializes when the drug problem it targets is already receding.   Continue reading

Fentanyl Blamed for Half of Overdoses

Fentanyl Blamed for Half of Massachusetts Overdoses — Pain News Network | May 11, 2016 | By Pat Anson, Editor

New studies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island show that the nation’s fentanyl problem may be much worse than previously thought, while the abuse of opioid pain medication may not be as bad as it is often portrayed.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health released new data showing that over half of the opioid overdose deaths in the state in 2015 were related to fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is more potent and dangerous that heroin   Continue reading

Possible Use of Stem Cells to Treat Chronic Pain

Study Paves Path for Use of Stem Cells in Treating Chronic Pain

Neuropathic pain, which occurs from damage to or dysfunction of the peripheral or central nervous system, is a major source of chronic pain and is often resistant to analgesics.

Although neuropathic pain can have numerous etiologies, from diseases (eg, cancer, viral infections) to injuries/trauma (eg, stroke, surgery, spinal cord injuries), neuroinflammation is an underlying driving factor.

Studies have suggested that stem cells might offer a way to inhibit chronic pain by modulating neuroinflammation, potentially providing a more complete and definitive strategy for treating neuropathic pain.   Continue reading

Why Women May Feel More Pain

Activation of membrane estrogen receptors attenuates opioid receptor-like1 receptor-mediated antinociception | Neuroscience. 2013 Dec

This free full-text PMC article describes a biochemical reason for a decreased level of pain relief in women.

To our knowledge, the present data are the first to demonstrate that activation of membrane estrogen receptors (mERs) abolishes opioid receptor-like 1 (ORL1) receptor – mediated analgesia via extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-dependent non-genomic mechanisms

Estrogen was shown previously to both attenuate ORL1- mediated antinociception and down-regulate the ORL1 gene expression.   Continue reading

Is Your Medicine Right for Your Genes?

Is Your Medicine Right for Your Metabolism? – WSJ

People can respond to drugs very differently. A medication that brings relief for some patients might show no benefit at all in others, or even cause harmful side effects.

A growing array of genetic tests is designed to help predict how people are likely to respond to many common medications, from antidepressants and antihistamines to pain relievers and blood thinners.

The tests, which are controversial, look for tiny variations in genes that determine how fast or slow we metabolize medications.

Because of such gene variations, codeine, frequently prescribed to relieve pain, has little effect on as much as 20% of the population, while 2% of people have such a strong reaction that a normal dose can be life-threatening.   Continue reading

Letter to Congress to Stop the War on Pain

Urging Congress to Stop the War on Pain | Feb 2016 | by Celeste Cooper

Following is a letter I sent to my congressional representatives and to the President.

This is what we all should be doing. Instead of complaining to each other, we need to write down what we’re saying and mail it to congress.

The sad fact is that responsible citizens are being demoralized because they take opioids to relieve their pain. They have to pee in a cup, guilty until proven innocent, and the tests accuracies are as diverse as the expense.

And, if they don’t succumb, they are sent away to suffer through withdrawal, without help. How is such torturous injustice allowed, even promoted, by our government?    Continue reading