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  • Writer's picturePatricia Camazzola

Factors Affecting the Treatment of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain affects 25% of adults in the US and is defined as persistent pain that lasts weeks to years.

Ideally identifying and treating the cause of pain is the preferred approach.

When this is not possible, a combined approach utilizing medications, therapies such as occupational, physical, cognitive behavioral therapies, and lifestyle changes are often recommended.

Medication management usually includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids.

Acetaminophen is also beneficial for pain management and is used alone or in combination with NSAIDs or opiates due to their synergistic properties.

Other classes of medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, steroids, muscle relaxants etc. may provide adjunct pain relief in certain pain scenarios.

Many factors can affect a patient’s response to pain medication including the following:

1.       Patient Characteristics - age, sex, weight

2.       Medical Conditions – depression, diabetes, obesity, cancer etc.

3.       Genetic Variations – that is variations in genes affecting the efficacy or likelihood of adverse events associated with specific pain meds.

Pharmacogenetic testing via a simple cheek swab can assist in identifying medications that are more likely to offer benefit, reduce risk and improve quality of life for patients struggling with chronic pain.

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