Topical medicines for pain have existed long before modern medicine developed. Over millennia, healing emollients, creams, and salves have been applied to the skin to relieve various pain-associated conditions. As the medical field advanced, many alternatives for pain management were developed, but topical analgesics have continued to demonstrate value.
One of the primary benefits of topical drugs is their ability to reduce or block pain at the site of pain with minimal uptake by the body’s systemic circulation. Topical analgesics are relatively easy to use and are generally unlikely to cause systemic adverse effects and drug-drug interactions, which is a significant consideration with oral or injectable drugs. This consideration makes topicals a valuable option for patients who are also taking drugs for other conditions, a particularly common situation in the elderly.
A recent study showed that topical analgesics, given to chronic pain patients who utilized opioids for pain relief, reduced or eliminated the need for opioids, with more than half of patients reporting complete resolution in their need for opioids altogether1. Furthermore, a follow-up study demonstrated that a combination of machine learning to develop individualized pain treatment plans for chronic pain patients dramatically reduced opioid prescriptions as topical analgesics were included as a frontline treatment option2. But more than reducing the need for more risky or invasive forms of patient treatment, it appears that topical analgesics may be particularly well-suited for certain types of pain.
Neurogenic inflammation is an irritation of the tiny nerves near the surface of the skin, causing pain that is often experienced by patients who have suffered bodily injury (e.g. back pain, neck pain, and arthritis) or surgery. This form of inflammation is gaining increasing attention as an undertreated source of persistent pain, which is worsened by two factors: Firstly, the source of pain is essentially undetectable to common diagnostic technologies such as x-ray and MRI, and secondly, treatment options for this form of pain are relatively scarce. Furthermore, recent research has demonstrated neurogenic inflammation to be particularly debilitating, especially in conditions like lower back pain where treatment is typically directed at the spine and its surrounding muscles.
Since in neurogenic inflammation, the cause of pain is near the surface of the skin, it makes sense that the most efficient way to address the pain would be to take the shortest route to the offending nerves by applying a topical analgesic. A benefit to this approach is that the topical medicine does not need to pass through the digestive system of the body before reaching the target tissue. It is a potentially faster option for relief that can be easily controlled by the pain sufferer. However, the range of topical products available to address this form of pain and pain conditions like it, are relatively limited.
USA-based company, ProloGel®, has focused its research and development efforts strongly on delivering topical analgesics to meet this need, having secured numerous patents in this field as part of its expanding portfolio. While the company currently offers a range of over-the-counter topical analgesic products readily available to the public, it is focusing its efforts on supporting medical providers and physical rehabilitation specialists with products and training as it aims to fill a particular growing demand for new treatment options to serve a new paradigm in the medical field’s approach to pain.
Multimodal analgesia, is a concept that recognizes that in many cases of pain, there are numerous, simultaneous pain sources that may require different simultaneous treatment methods. It further recognizes that the cumulative benefit of several lower-risk treatment options can often outweigh the benefit of a single, relatively riskier or more invasive option. Multimodal analgesia is an approach ideally suited to the physical rehabilitation environment where physical therapists can employ topical analgesics in conjunction with other treatments including therapeutic exercise, joint manipulation and non-invasive neuromodulation.
ProloGel® foresees making a valuable impact in the field with the delivery of its growing therapeutic product line and practitioner training programs.
The global topical pain relief market is projected to see significant growth over the next five years, in large part attributable to increasing prevalence of pain-associated conditions like arthritis, lower back pain, diabetic neuropathy, cancer, and medication misuse.
USA-based ProloGel® is focused on the development of a range of topical analgesics that combine a series of patented topical therapeutic products with a patented therapeutic process to counteract pain. The company anticipates the publication of a series of clinical studies in 2021 in support of their growing portfolio of products.
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This press release is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please check with your doctor. The news site hosting this press release is not associated with ProloGel®. It is merely publishing a press release announcement submitted by a company, without any stated or implied endorsement of the product or service.
Gudin J, Mavroudi S, Korfiati A, Theofilatos K, Dietze D, Hurwitz P. Reducing Opioid Prescriptions by Identifying Responders on Topical Analgesic Treatment Using an Individualized Medicine and Predictive Analytics Approach. J Pain Res. 2020 May 28;13:1255-1266. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S246503. PMID: 32547186; PMCID: PMC7266406.
Gudin JA, Brennan MJ, Harris ED, Hurwitz PL, Dietze DT, Strader JD. Reduction of opioid use and improvement in chronic pain in opioid-experienced patients after topical analgesic treatment: an exploratory analysis. Postgrad Med. 2018 Jan;130(1):42-51. doi: 10.1080/00325481.2018.1414551. PMID: 29224410.