Chronic pain sufferers identify sleep and psychological impacts that
affect everyday life often not recognized or treated
KIRKLAND, QC, Dec. 11 /CNW/ - A new Canadian survey reveals startling
data about the gap in the treatment and management of chronic pain in
Canada (i). The data indicates chronic pain sufferers experience psychological
symptoms such as anxiety and depression and report that their condition
affects their ability to sleep. When they speak to their health care
professionals, patients often do not receive treatment for these other
"This new data reveals the enormous impact that pain has on the lives of
Canadians and confirms that there is a mental and emotional component that
exacerbates the physical symptoms of pain," says Dr. Michael Sullivan, PhD,
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal. "This confirms what we
have been experiencing in our work with pain patients. There must be more
emphasis on recognizing and effectively treating all aspects of pain
experienced by patients - the physical pain component along with sleep and
psychological symptoms." This relationship between pain, sleep and
psychological symptoms is sometimes referred to as the "Paradigm of Pain".
Approximately 6,200 Canadians responded to the Harris-Decima on-line
survey completed for Pfizer Canada during October 2007. From the group of
initial respondents about 1,100 identified they suffered from some form of
chronic pain. One-third of chronic pain sufferers report that they regularly
suffer from at least one symptom of chronic pain. Among those who have been
regularly suffering from two or more symptoms for more than six months, half
(47%) have not been diagnosed and only one in four (25%) have neither been
diagnosed with a disease nor are they receiving any treatment at all for their
Pain often cited as interfering with sleep
Among chronic pain sufferers in Canada, approximately four in ten (38%)
experience fatigue regularly or always as a result of their condition and one
in three (36%) experience trouble falling or staying asleep. While more than
half of these chronic pain sufferers have spoken with their health care
professionals about their fatigue and inability to sleep, few were prescribed
medication for the condition.
"It is no surprise to those of us who work with these patients that only
four in ten indicate having spoken to their doctor about their anxiety and
among those, only one in four indicate being prescribed medication or other
treatments," says Dr. Angela Genge, Montreal Neurological Hospital. Dr. Genge
treats patients with a variety of pain conditions.
Two in three sufferers experience anxiety, feelings of despair
Chronic pain can have a significant impact on a person's daily
functioning and quality of life. In addition to the physical symptoms of pain,
two in three chronic pain sufferers experience anxiety about their condition
and those who take medication for their pain are twice as likely to report
being 'always' or 'regularly' worried about their condition than those not
taking medication. A large number of chronic pain sufferers experience
feelings of despair and hopelessness.
"The data confirms sleep interference can be a direct result of and can
further exacerbate chronic pain and psychological symptoms. And the
psychological symptoms can have the same effect on pain and sleep," says Dr.
Among those Canadians who have been regularly suffering from two or more
chronic pain symptoms for more than six months, half (47%) have no diagnoses
but are taking prescribed or over-the-counter medication while one in four
(25%) have neither been diagnosed with a disease nor are they receiving any
treatment at all. The symptoms most often noted by those who responded
- Temporary numbness or muscle weakness;
- Painful tingling or numbness or muscle weakness;
- Sharp, stabbing or burning pains;
- Painful sensations of cold or heat; and
- Painful sensitivity to touch.
Neuropathic pain or 'nerve' pain was the most frequently diagnosed
neuropathic disease followed by multiple sclerosis and other pain conditions
such as diabetic, post-shingles and post-stroke neuropathies. It is estimated
that as many as 2.2 million Canadians live with some form neuropathic
pain(ii); a disease that is often under-diagnosed and under-treated.
LYRICA(R) now approved for the treatment of central neuropathic pain
In 2005, LYRICA (pregabalin) became the first treatment approved for the
management of neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy
(DPN) and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). LYRICA is now the first agent
approved, with conditions, for use in the management of central neuropathic
pain (CNeP), nerve pain associated with conditions such as spinal cord injury
(SCI), stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. Central neuropathic
pain results from a primary lesion or dysfunction in the nervous system (i.e.,
brain, brainstem and spinal cord). LYRICA is marketed by Pfizer Canada Inc.
The approval of LYRICA for use in central neuropathic pain was based on a
trial in spinal cord injury pain. This type of pain is generally treatment
resistant with low levels of response to traditional neuropathic medications
and opioids. This SCI study is the largest trial ever conducted in such a
difficult to treat population. Benefits were significant across all measures
including pain reduction, pain related sleep difficulties & anxiety, as well
as the patients' overall impression of change.
The safety of LYRICA has been established in almost 9,000 patients
(controlled and uncontrolled studies). LYRICA has a favourable safety profile.
The most commonly observed adverse events ((greater than or equal to) 5% and
twice the rate of that seen in placebo) in pregabalin-treated patients in
pre-marketing studies were: dizziness, somnolence, peripheral oedema, and dry
mouth. Adverse events were usually mild to moderate in intensity.
About Pfizer Canada Inc.
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's
leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and
markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer's ongoing
research and development activities focus on a wide range of therapeutic areas
following our guiding aspiration...Working for a healthier world. For more
information, visit www.pfizer.ca.
LYRICA C.P. Pharmaceuticals, Owner/Pfizer Canada Inc., Licensee
(i) 2007 Chronic Pain Study, Harris-Decima, October 2007, data on file,
(ii) Journal of Pain, Vol 7, No 4 (April), 2006: pp 281-289
For further information:
For further information: Christina Antoniou, Pfizer Canada Inc., (514)
693-4766 or (514) 208-5960, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jennifer Nebesky,
Thornley Fallis Communications, (416) 515-7517 x240 or (416) 473-9565,