Clinical Trials for Chronic Pain – The Opportunity for Relief
Chronic pain is a long term pain that persists for three to six months, well beyond the expected period of healing. Living in constant pain can be exhausting and depressing. There are many types of pain, including deep somatic pain which is a dull aching pain and visceral pain which originates in the organs.
Everyone has felt pain at one point in their lives. However, imagine if that pain persisted for months and months without getting better or going away. There are 1.5 billion people worldwide who are suffering from chronic pain.
Usually the pain can be treated by traditional pain killers, including morphine, ibuprophen and paracetamol. However, the same treatments have been used for years with varying effects and no one has been able to discover the cure for chronic pain yet. There are a number of clinical trials that are currently ongoing which are looking into finding new treatments for chronic pain relief.
A clinical trial is when human volunteers are used in order to further research which will help to develop medical knowledge about the best possible treatment for the condition. The researchers will test potential treatments for chronic pain so that they can discover something that is better than what is currently on offer. If you choose to take part in the clinical study, you can help the researchers to develop a treatment for chronic pain that will benefit patients in the future.
Usually the clinical trial participants will be assigned at random to either taking the new treatment for chronic pain or taking the current standard treatment. The randomisation is important because it helps to avoid any potential bias – usually the participant doesn’t know which of the drugs they have been given.
Why not consider taking part in a clinical trial for chronic pain? You will be able to have access to some of the best current treatment and you will receive top of the line medical care. Alsowhen you take part in paid medical trials you will be helping future generations by allowing researchers and scientists to get closer to a cure.
Potential Future Treatments for Chronic Pain
There have been many important clinical trials in which researchers have discovered how chronic pain actually changes the brain. There are also several very promising research areas that could potentially lead to better treatment approaches.
Over the last 50 years or so we have had medication that has fit into four different classes – non steroids such as ibuprofen or aspirin, opioids such as morphine, anti-epileptics such as gabapentin and antidepressants such as amitriptyline. There have been less than 10 new medications with different mechanisms of action that have become available over the last 50 years and only one of them was designed specifically for its mechanisms of action.
There has been a greater focus on clinical trials for chronic pain research recently, as the human population is aging and there is a higher demand for a new treatment. In the past decade or so, researchers have learned a lot about chronic pain and have developed new scientific approaches so that they can successfully develop effective medications.
According to both animal and human studies it has been found that chronic pain changes the brain structurally, functionally and chemically. It induces the brain circuits to function abnormally, which includes the circuits that are involved in autonomic responses, cognition and other complex behaviours.
One of the current options being studied is neuro-rehabilitation, which might possibly allow for the reversal of the maladaptive changes that the brain goes through. Researchers are looking for new approaches for the treatment of chronic pain with this in mind, such as direct stimulation of the motor cortex.
There are other drugs, such as ketamine, which are thought to be potentially helpful thanks to their anti-inflammatory effects. Another potential treatment is the ability to replace neurons through cytotheraputic technologies such as embryonic stem cells. This theory is currently being tested on animals, but it might offer potential success in humans as well if it can be tested.
If you are considering taking part in a clinical trial for chronic pain management, take your time to find the right trial to suit your needs. There are many options out there, so select a trial that is in your local area and that will fit with your particular condition. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the trial and how it works, in order to make sure you are comfortable with what you are signing up for before you participate.