“Pain in Europe VIII” celebrated the 20th anniversary of EFIC, and was attended by over 3,900 clinicians, academics and researchers from around the world. Founded in 1993, EFIC has developed into Europe’s pre-eminent, multidisciplinary and multi-professional organization in the field of pain medicine, representing 36 constituent National Pain Societies supported by over 20,000 scientists, physicians, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals, interested in the field of pain.
The topic of EFIC’s Year Against Pain 2012/13 is Visceral Pain, and a similarly challenging painful condition was the focus of MAC’s study presentation in Florence. The condition under study, namely fibromyalgia (FM), remains a very prevalent, yet poorly understood, and sadly sometimes crippling part of a constellation of conditions, likely resulting from a central aberration within the sensory processing systems. The levels of two monoamine neurotransmitters (noradrenaline and serotonin) are frequently lower in FM subjects than the general population, and therapies that can boost the levels of these neurotransmitters have been found to be of benefit for symptom relief. MAC recruited two-thirds of a recently-completed 120 patient study, in collaboration with Professor Ernest Choy (Coordinating Investigator) of Cardiff University, and the pharmaceutical company Chelsea Therapeutics, of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. This placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept study showed droxidopa (a compound able to augment the deficiency in noradrenaline in FM patients) to be of benefit, and worthy of further study.