London (ots/PRNewswire) -
- Not for UK Journalists
- New Survey Reveals Widespread Ignorance of Debilitating Pain
Condition Affecting Millions of Europeans
Alarmingly, nearly sixty per cent of Europeans have never heard
of neuropathic pain (NeP), (1) a debilitating nerve condition that
affects approximately 22 million people, (2),(3) according to new
surveys carried out amongst the general public and patients across
Europe. NeP can often be a complication of diabetes, shingles, HIV
and cancer causing such unbearable pain that individuals are often
left unable to walk or even wear clothes.
In the survey, commissioned by Pfizer and the Neuropathic Pain
Network (NPN), nearly two thirds (58%) had not heard of NeP(1) and of
those who had heard of it, over a third (34%) did not understand what
it is.(1) More respondents said they would usually buy
over-the-counter painkillers in response to any pain than seek
diagnosis from a clinician,(1) which is worrying given that NeP is
common, under-treated and under-diagnosed.(4)
"These findings emphasize the vast lack of knowledge about
neuropathic pain and the importance of educating people about the
associated signs and symptoms and how to seek medical advice,"
comments Penney Cowan, Vice President of the Neuropathic Pain
Network. "The reality is that there are millions of people with nerve
pain in Europe undiagnosed and not receiving the optimal standard of
care. Launching NeP Day, a culmination of the 'Can You Feel my Pain?'
campaign, is one important step on the road to achieving awareness
and understanding of the condition."
The patient survey specifically sheds further light on the lack
of awareness and diagnosis, demonstrating that the majority of
patients with NeP (72%) had not heard of it before they were
diagnosed,(5) and some can often wait up to 2 years to receive the
diagnosis.(5) Approximately 50% of people with NeP felt their pain
equated to 'burning oneself',(5) which is thought to be the most
painful experience by those who don't suffer from the condition.(1)
"It's heartbreaking that the majority of patients in this survey
reported that they 'never feel like a real person',"(5) commented
Harry Kletzko, President of the Neuropathic Pain Network, "This is
truly upsetting at a time when many treatment options exist, together
with strong support networks to help patients live better lives."
Neuropathic Pain: A Debilitating Condition
NeP can have a significant impact on patients' lives leaving many
unable to work, walk or even wear clothes as the contact with their
skin can cause an unbearable burning pain. However, it is a condition
that is often under-diagnosed and under-treated.(4) NeP is initiated
or caused by a lesion or dysfunction of the central nervous system
(either peripheral or central). Many patients experience NeP as a
complication from diabetes, shingles, HIV, cancer, multiple
sclerosis, stroke or spinal cord injury. To non-sufferers lying on a
bed of nails sounds painful, but some people with NeP feel like they
are doing this everyday, very often describing the pain as feeling
like 'burning', 'shooting', 'stabbing' or 'electric shock-like'
sensations. In recent years a number of screening tools have been
developed to help physicians identify this difficult to diagnose
The 'Can You Feel My Pain' European Awareness Campaign
The survey was conducted by Pfizer in collaboration with the
Neuropathic Pain Network to identify gaps in the knowledge around the
disease between sufferers and general public across Europe. The
results have since been used to raise awareness of neuropathic pain
amongst consumers at the launch of the 'Can You Feel My Pain'
European campaign events in Scotland (August 19), The Netherlands
(September 28), Sweden (October 3) and Germany (October 10). The
campaign saw a team of renowned 3D street artists create images on
cities streets, to depict the experiences of a person with
neuropathic pain. The campaign culminates today on October 13 which
sees the launch of the first Neuropathic Pain Day across Europe.
About the Survey
In July 2008, Neuropathic Pain Network and Pfizer commissioned
GfK to conduct a multi-country survey of people with NeP and the
general public. A survey of 824 individuals and 150 patients was
conducted in four European countries including: the United Kingdom,
Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Fieldwork was conducted from
July 2008 through to September 2008.
About the Neuropathic Pain Network
The Neuropathic Pain Network (NPN) is a coalition of
organisations that actively support people with neuropathic pain by
enabling them to cope better with their pain, to obtain the best
treatment and, ultimately, to improve the quality of their lives. The
NPN has developed the first website solely dedicated to providing
support for people with neuropathic pain.
Pfizer Inc, the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical
company, discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription
medicines in 11 therapeutic areas including oncology, cardiovascular,
pain, neuroscience and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
(1). GfK HealthCare - Attitudes towards Neuropathic Pain -
consumer survey (UK, Germany, Sweden and Holland) - July 2008
(2). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_Europe. Data
extrapolated for 2008.
(3). Nanna B. Finnerup, et al, Medscape General Medicine.
2007;9(2):36. (c)2007 Medscape Posted 05/15/2007
(4). Wallace MS, Diagnosis and treatment of neuropathic pain Curr
Opin Anaesthesiol. 2005 Oct;18(5):548-54.
(5). GfK HealthCare, Attitudes towards Neuropathic Pain - patient
survey (UK, Germany and Sweden) - August-September 2008
ots Originaltext: Pfizer
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch
For more information, please contact: Penney Cowan, President,
Neuropathic Pain Network, Direct Tel: +1-916-632-0922,
firstname.lastname@example.org; Claire Leggott, Resolute Communications, Direct
Tel: +44(0)207-397-7075 , email@example.com