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Al Malyan M. 1, Becchi C. 1, Boncinelli S. 1, Ashammakhi N. 2
1 Unit of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Department of Medical and Surgical Critical Care, Florence University, Florence, Italy;
2 Institute of Biomaterials, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland
Pain is an unpleasant sensory experience resulting from damage to bodily tissues. It is considered a significant public health problem because it affects 1/5 of the world population and causes loss of great amounts of money. Pain reflects a mixture of pathological, psychological and genetic conditions that need deep understanding to be efficiently treated. If under-treated, pain results in serious immune and metabolic problems. Pain management faces many problems that limit its control. For instance, efficiency of pain killers is limited, pain killers give rise to serious side effects and inability of drug administration methods to help in pain control. Technology can overcome some of these problems and the introduction of implantable controlled drug delivery systems (CDDS), manufactured from biodegradable materials, offers a solution. Implantable CDDS provide good level of pain control, as they continuously provide drug, reduce side effects and improve patients’ compliance. Biodegradable type of implantable CDDS are polymer based devices that are fabricated to locally deliver drugs in a pre-designed manner. They are currently a focus of research in the field of pain therapy in order to explore their chance to offer an alternative to the conventional methods for drug delivery. This paper aims to highlight the dimensions of pain issue and to overview the basics of drug release from polymers used for CDDS in pain management. In addition, it discusses the recent advances in the technologically designed drug delivery systems in the field of pain medicine and their clinical applications. Future perspectives are also presented.