Improving the management of chronic non-malignant pain and reducing problems associated with prescription opioids

Alex D Wodak, Milton L Cohen, Malcolm D H Dobbin, Richard A Hallinan and Mary Osborn
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02810.x
Published online: 21 September 2009

New guidelines and a multidisciplinary approach have the potential to help patients in need while minimising inappropriate use of opioids

With an estimated community prevalence of about 20%, chronic non-malignant pain represents a significant but neglected and often poorly managed problem in Australia. In 2007, the cost of chronic pain to the community was estimated at $34 billion, which included burden of disease and productivity costs, each accounting for one-third of the total, and one-fifth ($7 billion) attributed to health system costs.1 Its prevalence and associated costs will rise as the population ages.

  • Alex D Wodak1
  • Milton L Cohen1
  • Malcolm D H Dobbin2
  • Richard A Hallinan3
  • Mary Osborn4

  • 1 St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Victorian Government Department of Human Services, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Byrne Surgery, Redfern, Sydney, NSW.
  • 4 Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

Milton Cohen is on a medical advisory board for Mundipharma, from whom he has received consultancy and speaker fees. He has received speaker fees from iNova Pharmaceuticals.


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