Randall P. Brewer, MD, Chief Medical Editor
Chronic pain is a significant public health issue in the United States and an important concern for MCOs. Untreated or undertreated pain can evolve from a symptom to a chronic condition in its own right, one that has serious comorbid, economic, and quality-of-life consequences. As scientific understanding of the mechanisms involved in chronic pain increases, so too does the opportunity to manage affected patients in a cost-effective manner.
This peer-reviewed digest discusses the clinical and economic implications of chronic and acute pain, current guidelines for treatment, therapeutic approaches to care, and patient-management strategies. It also discusses legal and clinical considerations of opioid and nonopioid therapies for adult and geriatric populations. In consolidating the state of the art about this increasingly important subspecialty of medical care, this is a valuable tool for physicians and other clinicians, managed care clinical executives, and P&T committee members.