Consumers living with pain should look now at alternatives to codeine before it is upscheduled on 1 February next year
So says Stephenie Shea, Discount Drug Stores Pharmacist and National Pharmaceuticals Manager, who spoke to AJP following the launch of the brand’s new clinics for patients with persistent pain.
“It’s important to understand that persistent pain can often be better managed and we believe up to 80% of those affected miss out on or don’t seek treatment, so it’s best to seek advice before it takes a toll on your quality of life,” Ms Shea says.
“One in five GP consults is because of persistent pain but it remains a neglected area of healthcare with only 10% of people affected currently accessing effective treatment.
“Persistent pain is a complex condition, and it affects each individual differently.”
She says the DDS group is encouraging consumers to seek advice from their pharmacist about alternatives to codeine products, both before and after next February.
“While pharmacological therapy plays a large role in helping patients manage their pain, non-pharmacological therapies do also need to be explored and discussed with the patient,” she says.
“It is important to discover what is causing or triggering their pain and making them aware that a painkiller alone may not be the only product that fixes the problem.
“Pharmacological therapy can often be supported by evidence-based complementary medicines which can further assist the patient in managing their condition.”
She says the clinics will see pharmacists having open conversations in uncovering what the patient’s perception of their pain is, the causes or triggers, and how it can be managed with drug and non-drug therapies.
The clinics will be run in partnership with Painwise Australia and will consist of a one-on-one consultation with a pharmacist.
It’s vital that pharmacists understand the impact persistent pain has on patients’ lives, Ms Shea says.
“Persistent pain can certainly have a debilitating effect on quality of life.
“It has been reported that a third of all people who experience chronic pain are unable to identify the original cause.
“This is concerning to think that people are just coping with pain that they don’t know how they got in the first place.
“As pharmacists are one of the health professionals who are both qualified and easily accessible, it’s important to have open conversations to explore the patient’s whole situation in order to be able to help the patient identify the causes or triggers to effectively manage their pain.”
One in five Australians are currently living with persistent pain and reports predict this number will rise to five million by 2050.