International guidance on using neurostimulation for chronic pain formulated at INS

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According to a press release, an international panel of experts has formulated guidance for neuromodulation practitioners that reflects increasing recognition of the value of this growing field. The inaugural Neuromodulation Appropriateness Consensus Committee (NACC) was comprised of more than 60 physicians and medical researchers who defined patient selection criteria, training recommendations, technique considerations, and therapeutic goals. 

The guidance was announced at the 11th World Congress of the International Neuromodulation Society (INS) in Berlin, Germany.

“Neuromodulation provides pain physicians an established therapeutic alternative to long-term opioid use when treating appropriately selected chronic pain patients,” said Timothy Deer, INS president elect and director of the Center for Pain Relief in Charleston, USA, who spearheaded the initiative. “These ‘digital drugs’ provide programmable, adjustable, and reversible treatment.”

“Neuromodulation devices are a unique paradigm in medicine, and clinical experience has been growing quickly among a number of specialties, from pain interventionists to urologists, neurocardiologists, and cancer specialists. The NACC guidance gathers our best evidence based upon both clinical research trials and experts’ informed, direct clinical experience,” Deer said.

The NACC guidance is expected to be submitted for peer-reviewed to the INS journal, Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface.

According to the press release, a multi-country survey reported in 2013 shows that one out of five Europeans suffers from chronic non-cancer pain, and chronic pain costs the European healthcare system as much as €300 billion a year in medical treatment and lost productivity. Throughout the developed world, 20% of people live with chronic non-cancer pain, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). In 2011, the Institute of Medicine reported that more than 100 million Americans live with pain, at a cost of up to US$635 billion a year.