Why severe sickle-cell pain has been neglected

From Nature, 25 August 2021:

“Dealing with pain is messy,” says John Roberts, an oncologist at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. It can’t be measured objectively through biomarkers or visualized on a scan, the experience of it varies enormously from person to person, and it can be fiendishly difficult to treat.

When it comes to the chronic pain of sickle-cell disease, it gets even messier. Chronic sickle-cell pain can completely immobilize one person, whereas another is able to continue with their day-to-day activities. A dose of opioids that all but eliminates pain in one person can worsen it in another. Medical marijuana can help, not because it relieves the pain but because it helps people to be less bothered by it.

New disease-modifying treatments are currently applied too late in life to prevent the accumulated, and so far irreversible, damage thought to be responsible for the constant background pain that is the physiological ‘soundtrack’ to life with sickle-cell disease. Read more.

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