PainSA is a chapter of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Our mission is to improve all aspects of pain management in Southern Africa.

PainSA Journal: World Health Organisation essential medicines lists: where are the drugs to treat neuropathic pain?

Neuropathic pain has been deemed a priority health issue5 and is the topic of the 2014 to 2015 Global Year Against Neuropathic Pain campaign of the International Association for the Study of Pain (


Between 6% and 10% of adults are affected by chronic pain with neuropathic features,6,24,26 and this prevalence is significantly greater among individuals with specific conditions. For example, neuropathic pain is a common comorbidity in infectious diseases such as HIV, leprosy, and herpes zoster, and in noninfectious conditions such as diabetes mellitus, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic limb and spinal cord injury.


The pain is associated with significant decreases in quality of life and socioeconomic well-being, even more so than nonneuropathic chronic pain. Developing and emerging countries share the greatest burden of conditions that are associated with the development of neuropathic pain5,10 and can ill afford the negative consequences of this pain.

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