Pharmacological strategies for the management of cancer pain in developing countries
Pain associated with cancer is often under treated especially in the developing countries where there are problems of poor economy, poor purchasing power of the citizens, absence of effective national health insurance schemes, poor manpower, fake adulterated and expired drugs, poor drug storage conditions; adverse temperature conditions combined with poor power supply which may affect drug efficacy. There is also poor understanding of the physiopharmacology of cancer pain management by health care providers. Assessment of the severity of the pain by location, oncological type, as well as psychosocial, emotional and environmental factors are necessary. The pain often occurs from malignancy, from procedures done to diagnose, stage and treat the malignancy, and from the toxicities of therapy used in treating the cancer. The first priority of treatment is to control pain rapidly and completely, as judged by the patient. The second priority is to prevent recurrence of pain. Analgesic drugs are given ‘by the ladder,’ ‘by the clock’ and ‘by the appropriate route’ using the analgesic ladder guideline proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The pharmacological aspects of various drugs used in the management of cancer pain are discussed.
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