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new website provides insight in severe chronic pain management



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Aachen, 22 October, 2009. The newly launched website is part of the CHANGE PAIN campaign initiated by German pain expert Grunenthal and strongly endorsed by the European Federation of IASP® Chapters (EFIC®). CHANGE PAIN is aiming to improve the management of severe chronic pain in Europe with the support of renowned international pain experts. The new website provides the objectives of CHANGE PAIN, and offers physicians the opportunity to familiarise themselves with practical knowledge for treating chronic pain patients and learn more about current limitations. It also features the European CHANGE PAIN Survey which is designed to investigate concepts and variations in practical management of severe chronic pain across Europe.

Physicians' knowledge about severe chronic pain and awareness of individual patient needs are crucial to make better treatment decisions and offer patients throughout Europe relief through effective pain treatment. provides physicians with a broad overview on pain physiology, on how severe chronic pain is treated today, why it is necessary to change the treatment of pain patients to improve pain management and how this can be achieved.

The sections of the website are well-structured and illustrated with tables, graphics and animations providing information for specialists but also for physicians who do not specialise in pain. In video statements, Professor Giustino Varrassi, MD and Dr Gerhard H. H. Mueller-Schwefe, MD, both chairmen of the international CHANGE PAIN Advisory Board, provide first hand insight on the most relevant unmet medical needs in severe chronic pain management and discuss the objectives of CHANGE PAIN.

European CHANGE PAIN survey
As part of the CHANGE PAIN campaign, Grunenthal has started the European CHANGE PAIN survey at the 6th triennial EFIC congress. The survey investigates the different approaches physicians across Europe follow when treating patients suffering from severe chronic pain. More than 400 healthcare professionals participated in the survey at the EFIC congress. Interested healthcare professionals who did not attend the EFIC congress still have the chance to participate in the survey online at

"We are very happy that so many physicians took part in the CHANGE PAIN survey at the EFIC congress. The preliminary findings confirm many unmet medical needs identified by the CHANGE PAIN Advisory Board earlier this year," explained Professor Giustino Varrassi, MD, EFIC President and chairman of CHANGE PAIN. "We are asking all physicians treating pain patients to participate in the survey online to provide us with an even broader database, which will provide robust data on how severe chronic pain is treated across Europe. This will help us tailor the activities in our campaign to improve management of severe chronic pain."

Insights in practical chronic pain management
First results of the survey show that there are huge differences in daily practice of severe chronic pain management. The finding of the greatest interest was that healthcare professionals across Europe rate the severity of pain very differently. On a numerical rating scale (NRS), the ratings of when they perceive chronic non-cancer pain to be severe ranged from 4 to 8.

Further results illustrate the unmet medical needs and challenges in the treatment of severe chronic pain: Treatment requires the use of strong analgesics. However, about one-fifth of the healthcare professionals stated that they never prescribe strong opioids in cases of severe chronic non-cancer pain.

For the majority of respondents the main treatment goal for severe chronic non-cancer pain patients is pain reduction. They stated that the most important factor for choosing an analgesic is the efficacy/side effect balance. With regard to classical strong opioids, the healthcare professionals identified gastrointestinal side effects to be the main reasons limiting treatment success in these patients.

Moreover, the survey confirmed that the majority of healthcare professionals regard pain with a neuropathic component as often more severe and more difficult to treat. At the same time they agreed that a neuropathic component is often not clearly diagnosed in severe chronic low back pain patients and that the awareness on the physiological difference between neuropathic and nociceptive pain is still low within the medical community. These results indicate that while physicians are aware of the challenges associated with a neuropathic component, patients suffering e.g. from chronic low back pain are often undertreated as in many cases a neuropathic component is not clearly diagnosed and therefore not adequately treated.

Results of the survey will be published on

CHANGE PAIN is aiming to improve the management of severe chronic pain and is strongly endorsed by the European Federation of the IASP® Chapters (EFIC®). Initiated by German pain expert Grunenthal, the campaign involves pain experts from across Europe. The international Advisory Board is chaired by Professor Giustino Varrassi, MD, President of the EFIC and Dr Gerhard H. H. Mueller-Schwefe, MD, President of the German Pain Association (DGS). Key objectives of CHANGE PAIN are to generate a better understanding of the unmet medical needs in severe chronic pain management, improve education of physicians and encourage communication between physicians and patients.


About Grunenthal
Grunenthal is passionate about globally being the preferred partner in pain management for patients, health care professionals and payors. The corporation drives innovation to expand European market leadership in moderate to severe pain. Grunenthal is an independent, family-owned German corporation with companies in 34 countries all over the world. Founded in 1946, the corporation employs 2,000 people in Germany and 5,200 worldwide. In 2008, Grunenthal achieved revenues of about 864 million Euros. More information:


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Steffen Fritzsche
Grünenthal Pharma GmbH & Co. KG
Corporate Communication
52099 Aachen, Germany


Fax: +49 241 569-1335