BACKGROUND: The management of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain (NeP), is a major public health issue. However, there is a paucity of data evaluating pain management strategies in real-life settings.
OBJECTIVE: To inform policy makers about the economic value of managing chronic NeP in academic centres by conducting a subeconomic assessment of a Canadian multicentre cohort study aimed at determining the long-term outcomes of the management of chronic NeP in academic pain centres. Specific questions regarding the economic value of this type of program were answered by a subset of patients to provide further information to policy makers.
METHODS: Baseline demographic information and several pain-related measurements were collected at baseline, three, six and 12 months in the main study. A resource use questionnaire aimed at determining NeP-related costs and the EuroQoL-5 Dimension were collected in the subset study from consenting patients. Statistical analyses were conducted to compare outcomes over time and according to responder status.
RESULTS: A total of 298 patients were evaluated in the present economic evaluation. The mean (± SD) age of the participants was 53.7±14.0 years, and 56% were female. At intake, the mean duration of NeP was >5 years. Statistically significant improvements in all pain and health-related quality of life outcomes were observed between the baseline and one-year visits. Use decreased over time for many health care resources (eg, visits to the emergency room decreased by one-half), which resulted in overall cost savings.
CONCLUSION: The results suggest that increased access to academic pain centres should be facilitated in Canada.