American Pain Society releases pain research agenda for the 21st century

The American Pain Society has recently released its “Pain Research Agenda for the 21st Century,” a goal-oriented approach emphasizing important outcomes that must be achieved to meaningfully advance pain treatment.  Reflecting on the agenda, APS President Gregory Terman, MD, PhD, said, “Chronic pain must become a national priority. Much larger investments have been made, such as decoding the human genome and halting the HIV epidemic, and the results have been nothing short of transformative.  Is the daily suffering of 100 million Americans less important?”  Co-author and former APS President Roger B. Fillingim, PhD, noted that pain research expenditures at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) account for just 1 percent of the NIH research budget or $4 per affected individual, compared to cancer and HIV for which $431 and $2,562, respectively, are spent per affected person.

The APS Pain Research Agenda identifies five broad goals:

  1. Develop novel pain treatments that enhance clinically meaningful pain relief and functional improvement with acceptable adverse effects.
  2. Expedite progress toward the prevention, diagnosis, and management of pain conditions.
  3. Optimize the use of access to currently available treatments that are known to be effective
  4. Understand the impact of health policies and systems on pain treatment
  5. Improve pain management through education research.


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