I was writing about the failure of painkillers 2013, 7 years ago - on this very day! My blog, 'The Failure of Painkilling Drugs' arose after I read an article in the GP e-magazine, Pulse, in which a doctor asked an important question - what have GP's been left with to treat patients with chronic pain?" The article stated:
"... GP options for managing persistent pain in their patients have declined markedly over the past decade, but it seems we may have finally reached crisis point".
The story in 2013 was that all the main painkilling drugs were known to cause so much damage to patients, and had so many restrictions placed on prescribing them, doctors had nothing left to give patients suffering long-term pain.
So what has happened over the past 7 years? How has conventional medicine responded to this self-declared crisis? The answer can be found in this recent Pulse article, dated 28th August 2020, entitled "Proposed Ban on Opioids for chronic pain leaves GP's with scant options".
So the answer is clear - nothing has happened over the last 7 years!
The 2013 article had doctors expressing concern about the bare medicine cupboard. Since then there have been no new painkilling drugs. Sp doctors continue to prescribe the same old drugs, in full knowledge of their ineffectiveness, and their dangers to health. They have been prescribing more opioids, which has led to the disasters in the USA, Europe and elsewhere. But essentially, doctor continue to do what they have been told not to do for the last 7 years - and more. They remain in the same position.
The reason for the 2020 article in Pulse was that NICE (the National Institute of Clinical Excellence) reported that there was a lack of evidence for the effectiveness of opioids, along with evidence of long-term harm. It was this that had persuaded them to recommend against the prescription of opioid drugs for people in chronic pain. So they advised doctors to stop prescribing opioids.
The guidance, however, went much further, stating that all the other main painkilling drugs were now considered too harmful to prescribe to patients:
“Do not offer any of the following, by any route, to people aged 16 years and over to manage chronic primary pain; opioids; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (SSRI) drugs; Benzodiazepines;anti-epileptic drugs including gabapentinoids; Paracetamol; Ketamine; Corticosteroids and antipsychotics”
So what, we might ask, can doctors prescribe to people in long-term pain? In other words, what is the answer to the question doctors were already asking, 7 years ago? There is, of course, nothing. Conventional medicine has absolutely nothing to offer.
Earlier, Public Health England had undertaken a review into prescription drug addiction, revealing that about 1 in 4 adults (about 11 million people in England alone) had a prescription for antidepressants, opioids, gabapentinoids, benzodiazepines; and that admissions to rehabilitation facilities for prescription drug addiction had risen by about 40% in the last 18 months.
This encapsulates the performance of what we call our 'National Health Service', a 'service' on which we are being repeatedly being asked to spend more money, year by year - a health service that can offer people in pain only dangerous failed drugs.
Nice estimated that between one-third and half of the population may be affected by chronic pain while almost half of people with the condition have a diagnosis of depression and two-thirds are unable to work because of it.
The conventional medical establishment, which now operates a monopoly within the NHS, has no effective treatment capable of dealing with this ever-growing epidemic of long-term pain.
So what will the situation be in another 7 years time? I predict that doctors will still be prescribing the same old failed drugs, all mentioned above; that the epidemic of long-term pain will have increased; and that some conventional health body will again provide doctors with more guidance - they should not be prescribing these same drugs to patients. And that doctors will continue to ask, despairingly, what else can they do?
There is only one sensible answer - to move to natural medical therapies, to join an increasing (but still small) number of patients who are already doing so. And perhaps it is worth pointing out that no-one has to wait another 7 years in order to do so.