In Support of Pain Awareness Month

Hamburg, Friday 27 September 2019 12.00 CEST

September is #PainAwarenessMonth, a topic we’re glad to see being supported in social media. Chronic pain and the management of pain has always been an important topic to us here at GAIA. One of the first programs we developed was Dr. Beck, a digital therapy program for sufferers of chronic back pain.

The program was developed in cooperation with the Airbus group as a way to explore therapeutic methods for managing pain without medications and the side-effects of medications. Since then, we have developed digital therapy programs to support sufferers of chronic headaches and migraines, multiple sclerosis patients and epilepsy patients, among others.

Nevertheless, pain is a major health issue that touches all lives at some point, directly and indirectly. It is also a health issue that is deeply intertwined with the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Starting in the early 1990s, prescription opioids, such as oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl, became the norm in treating pain. While the use of these drugs can be safe when properly prescribed and used, they are nonetheless highly addictive. In fact, approximately 30% of patients who have been prescribed opioids for pain treatment end up addicted to and misusing them.1 This epidemic has become so widespread in the United States that it was declared a public health emergency in 2017.

Earlier this month, we announced our partnership with Swedish pharmaceutical company, Orexo, to fight Opioid Use Disorder. This is a partnership we are incredibly excited about. Joining forces with Orexo will allow us to offer patients suffering from Opioid Use Disorder an effective, comprehensive medication-assisted treatment plan.

As with many addiction related illnesses, counseling and psychological support in addition to medication is key to successfully overcoming addiction and preventing relapse. However, the accessibility and quality of counseling remain one of the main barriers to successful treatment in the United States.

This partnership gives us the opportunity to bring an easily accessible, fully-automated solution to help patients effectively overcome their opioid addiction. Over the next several years, we will dedicate our expertise in treating addiction as well as our expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to creating a world-class digital therapeutic for patients suffering from Opioid Use Disorder.

Our digital therapeutic (Orexo project no. OXD-01) paired with effective medications, such as Orexo’s FDA approved and clinically proven medication Zubsolv for treatment of opioid dependence, will bring us one step closer to our goal of freeing sufferers of chronic pain from their dependence on opioid drugs.

  1. Vowles KE, McEntee ML, Julnes PS, Frohe T, Ney JP, van der Goes DN. Rates of opioid misuse, abuse, and addiction in chronic pain: a systematic review and data synthesis. Pain. 2015;156(4):569-576. doi:10.1097 /01.j.pain.0000460357.01998.f1.

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