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Pain is the result of sensory nerve stimulation often associated with actual or potential tissue damage and may manifest as either chronic pain or acute pain:


  • Chronic pain, affecting millions worldwide, is broken into two categories; neuropathic pain, and nociceptive pain (also called somatic or inflammatory pain).
    • Neuropathic pain is a malfunction of the nervous system due to injury, disease or trauma such as diabetic neuropathy or postherpetic neuralgia, and usually is confined to a small area. Neuropathic pain is described as burning, tingling, shooting pain.
    • Nociceptive pain results from injury or inflammation of tissue (rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia) or lower back pain. Nociceptive pain is described as dull, aching, throbbing pain.
  • Acute pain often subsides in a short period of time and is typically associated with tissue injury such as surgery, a cut, a joint dislocation or pressure on a nerve.


Pain Treatment Market

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including COX-2 inhibitors, are usually prescribed as first-line treatment for nociceptive pain; however, their relatively low potency may result in insufficient pain control. In addition, the long-term use of NSAIDs may result in side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage and cardiovascular-related complications.


Opioids have long been prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain and are regarded as the most potent class of analgesics. However, opioids can lead to intolerable side effects and the development of tolerance, dependence and addiction. As a consequence, opioids are usually prescribed only when other pain treatments have failed.


Gabapentanoids, a class of anti-convulsants with analgesic properties, are also frequently prescribed for neuropathic pain, but also have significant safety and tolerability issues.


A Need for Improved Pain Therapies

At Zalicus we believe that this lack of adequate pain control, particularly in patients with moderate to severe chronic pain, represents a significant therapeutic gap in current pain management. There is continued need across all chronic pain syndromes for novel agents with improved tolerability, enhanced efficacy, better long-term safety profiles and improved quality of life.