Topical Analgesics Emerge as Important Pain-Management Tools

Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than 50 million individuals in America experienced chronic pain in 2021. Chronic pain is a common reason for patients to seek medical care. It can significantly impact an individual’s daily life as well as overall quality of life in the long-term, which makes its treatment crucial.

Currently, opioids are commonly prescribed to help manage chronic pain. It is estimated that roughly 20% of patients who suffer from persistent pain are prescribed opioids. With the current opioid crisis affecting states across America and the fact that prescribed opioids make up a good fraction of all overdoses, alternatives to manage chronic pain are needed.

An effective alternative treatment for pain management is analgesics, which are available over the counter as well as in prescription form.  The effectiveness of analgesics has been proven in numerous studies. For instance, one study from 2010 that involved testing the effectiveness of 3% 1-menthol patch and 10% methyl salicylate in managing chronic pain determined that the intensity of pain considerably decreased for patients who used the patch.

The study’s findings supported the approval of the first over-the-counter topical analgesic patch by the FDA. Topical analgesic safety has also been proven, with researchers noting that topical agents are safer due to their decreased risk for drug-to-drug interactions and adverse events.

So, how do analgesics work?

Topical analgesics provide a localized therapy option without possible side effects linked to other conventional treatments of chronic pain. These drugs penetrate the epidermis, offering local relief.  A commonly used topical drug is lidocaine, which is prescribed for neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain management.

Professional and medical societies also recommend the use of topical analgesics in managing chronic pain. For instance, the Osteoarthritis Research Society International published guidelines in 2019 that strongly recommended topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for knee osteoarthritis. It also recommended these drugs for patients with cardiovascular and/or gastrointestinal pain, particularly in cases where nonselective use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is restricted.

That same year, the American College of Rheumatology published guidelines for treating osteoarthritis and recommended localized therapy.

The following year, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians released guidelines for managing pain from musculoskeletal injuries. They recommended the use of topical NSAIDS to alleviate pain and improve physical functioning.

It should be noted that guidelines from theses organizations prioritizing the use of topical analgesics over opioids align with recommendations made by the CDC.

Companies such as SOHM Inc. (OTC: SHMN) are also working to make even more analgesics readily available so that those who would be better served by these topical alternatives use them in lieu of opioids.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to SOHM Inc. (OTC: SHMN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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