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Managing pain from Chronic Conditions PDF Print E-mail

One third of adults in Wales have at least one chronic condition, such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease*. This is made worse by the ageing process, where the body slowly begins to break down and inhibit people’s ability to move freely. The combinationmay result in chronic pain, which people feel they simply have to live with.


“I find the most common problem with pain management occurs with patients who have chronic conditions such as arthritic pain,” says pharmacist Richard Griffiths, Partner, Griffiths Pharmacy, Garden City, Deeside.


“Although GPs prescribe appropriate pain medication, many people are reluctant to take it too often as they don’t want to be a ‘pill popper’. So instead of taking paracetamol or co-codamol for arthritis four times a dayas prescribed,they take it once or twice. However, this type of medication needs to be taken regularly to achieve what we call a ‘steady state’ in the body, maintaining a constant level of pain relief over a longer period of time.


“The result is a vicious circle. Pain makes patients lessmobile; they take less exercise but eat the same, so they put on weight. This puts greater strain on their joints and can lead to Type II diabetes and heart problems.”


The statistics back up Richard’s experience - it is estimated that 30% to 50% of patients fail to take their medicines correctly*.


Community pharmacies like Griffiths Pharmacy of Garden city address this by holding private medicines use reviews with their patients. Richard often challenges patients to take their medicines as prescribed for two weeks, then come back and tell him how they’re feeling. The results can be transforming.


“Proper use of medicinesfor chronic conditions can literally change lives,” he says. “I encourage all patients to speak to their pharmacist if they’re suffering from chronic pain. We can quickly find out if the problem is incorrect medicines use, and if not refer them to their GP.”/p>