Pain and Inflammation
Pain can impair people's daily routine, preventing them from moving, working and living a normal life. That is why the history of pain relief is long and dates back to more than 5000 years ago.
Across Europe, an estimate of 500 million working days are lost every year as a result of chronic and acute pain, with an enormous social and economic impact.
Among the different treatments available for pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been and still are used extensively.
Diclofenac is the most widely prescribed NSAID worldwide, effective in a wide variety of conditions such as muscular, tendon and joint injuries, back pain, menstrual cramps, dental pain and headache.
The anti-inflammatory and pain relieving activity of diclofenac is mainly related to the inhibition of COX-2, the isoform of cyclooxygenase involved in pain and inflammation development. In addition, diclofenac has other anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that go well beyond the pure COX-2 inhibition. The diversity in diclofenac’s mechanisms of action may suggest the potential for a relatively more favourable profile compared with other NSAIDs.
Innovative formulations containing a soluble salt of diclofenac (diclofenac epolamine or DHEP) have been launched on the global market by IBSA. Thanks to its favourable permeation characteristics, DHEP provides optimal absorption and prompt relief from pain caused by soft tissue injury, musculoskeletal disorders and other clinical conditions characterized by acute and chronic pain.
The DHEP topical patch for the local treatment of acute pain and inflammation due to strains, sprains, bruises and OA flares is one of the most relevant and well-known IBSA products. IBSA patch acts directly and locally on the painful area for several hours, thus avoiding the passage of the drug through the gastrointestinal system.
Moreover, a new version of the patch has been recently developed by IBSA with the addition of heparin as excipient and enhancer, with the aim to increase the release of the active principle from the patch and consequently its efficacy.
Another innovation in this area is represented by a diclofenac formulation in prefilled injection and ampoule that is used in acute pain management. Its subcutaneous administration has many advantages compared to the intramuscular delivery; in addition, this new formulation offers the possibility of using different dosages for a more accurate and targeted therapy. Very recently, the product has also been approved for the bolus i.v. injection when treatment or prevention of post-operative pain in the hospital setting is required.