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ISSUE NO 4 5 NEWS & REVIEWS Several previously conducted sur- veys have indicated both the preva- lence of chronic pain in the general population and also the profound effect which this condition can have on the quality of life for indi- vidual sufferers. The success or failure of pain treatment is greatly influenced by a number of factors including patient/physician com- munication, the treatment environ- ment and the psychological status of the patient. Emotions, negative and positive expectations of treat- ment success, and anticipation of decreased pain all have a bearing on treatment outcome1,2,3 . The bet- ter the patient’s perception of the treatment process, the more likely is the achievement of satisfactory pain relief. As part of the CHANGE PAIN initia- tive, a Pan-European Patient Survey is being conducted to gather infor- mation about chronic pain treat- ment from both the patient’s and physician’s perspective with the in- tention of identifying possible ways in which the patients’ treatment process may be improved. The results from 6,435 patients who participated in this paper and pencil study survey in Germany from July to September 2010 have now been analysed. Survey results The results of this survey indicated that 57% of the patients had suf- fered chronic pain for more than 3 in combination. The worse the pain, the more combination thera- pies were prescribed, while mo- notherapy treatment decreased. The combinations used most often were NSAIDs/non-opioids with weak or strong opioid. More than 50 different combinations of drug use was reported. In all three inten- sity groups, approximately two out of three patients received non-phar- macological treatment in addition to their pain medication, including acu- puncture (~20%), trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS; ~20%), psychotherapy (~10%) and physiotherapy (~40%). years, 75% for more than one year. Chronic back pain was the main type of pain, affecting 61% of the patients, followed by arthritis pain (28%). Asked to rate the intensity of their pain over the previous 7 days using an 11-point numerical rating scale (NRS), the mean value was 5.6, well above the mean value of 2.0 which patients had conside- red tolerable for effective pain ma- nagement. Analysis of the pharmacological therapies used illustrated the wide range of approaches employed to treat chronic pain. Approximately half of patients took medications from one class only (monotherapy) the other half took medications from different substance classes CHANGE PAIN PATIENT SURVEY – FOR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF PATIENTS’ NEEDS Dr Gerhard H.H. Müller-Schwefe COMMENTARY Dr med Gerhard H.H. Müller-Schwefe, President of the German Association for Pain Therapy (DGS) about the importance to learn about patient needs CHANGE PAIN aims to enhance the understan- ding of severe chronic pain patients‘ needs and develop solutions. One approach is to learn about the treatment differences in Europe in order to im- prove pain management. The results from patients participating in the CHANGE PAIN Pan-European Patient Survey provide a great insight into patients’ experience of chronic pain, which will help to identify ways of providing more effective treatment and consequently improving the quality of life of these patients.