ORLANDO, Florida — Conditions associated with pain in children are common, yet pharmacologic treatments for pain are prescribed in less than half of patients, according to new research.

In a study that included data on 25.5 million pediatric patients from the United States with a variety of painful conditions, up to 76 percent did not receive any prescription analgesics, according to lead author Laura Wallace, MPH, from Purdue Pharma, LP, Stamford, Connecticut, which also funded the study.

“Basically, these kids are not getting treated,” Wallace said here at American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM) 24th Annual Clinical Meeting.

“Thankfully, the prevalence of pain in kids is very low, although it does increase with age. For example, you see a lot more painful conditions in the older adolescents, in the 12- to 16-year-olds,” she told Medscape Medical News.

“But the real take-home is that a lot of the conditions that we know are associated with pain and that are being treated with analgesics in adults are not being treated in kids,” she said.

Wallace and her team used Market Scan Commercial and Medicaid databases to better understand the prevalence of conditions associated with acute and chronic pain in pediatric patients and to also characterize pediatric pain treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, and immediate-release or extended-release opioids.

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