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Developing ‘fully evidenced’ paediatric pain guidelines

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In this issue, Andy Gray discusses the WHO Guidelines on the pharmacological treatment of persisting pain in children.1 ,2 I had the honour to be the responsible officer in the WHO for developing these guidelines. It is the first time that WHO publishes guidelines on pain that go wider than cancer pain only. These new WHO Guidelines are not only intended to impact how patients are treated, but also to ensure that they are treated: WHO estimates that over 5.5 billion people live in countries where moderate and severe pain is not adequately addressed.3 ,4 This is not only the case in developing countries, but a number of European countries clearly show insufficient use of opioid analgesics too. Therefore, there is a high need for new policies that improve patient access to pain treatment. These WHO Guidelines show healthcare workers and policy makers what is needed to provide adequate pain treatment; obviously, this includes availability of opioid analgesics. In order to make the guidelines more accessible, WHO published three brochures for quick reference simultaneously: …

Correspondence to Dr Willem Scholten, Consultant - Medicines and Controlled Substances, chemin du Lignolet 18A, CH-1260 Nyon, Switzerland; wk.scholten{at}bluewin.ch

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