It is a commonly accepted fact that herbal medicine treatment is often less expensive than other medications, but in a new study, researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found that it costs a little more in Ireland to treat chronic pain than in Britain.
In their study, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, Dr David Condon and colleagues used data from the 2011-2012 Irish National Pain Survey, which included a question on herbal medicine use.
They found that Ireland spent more than three times as much per person on treating chronic pain as the UK, which spent around £8.50.
In total, the average price of herbal medicine was £856, or nearly a quarter of the UK’s average.
However, in Ireland, the cost was only £14, or about four per cent of the average.
In addition to the increased costs for chronic pain, the study found that more than half of the patients were using alternative medicines, including acupuncture, naturopathy, massage, homeopathy, herbal medicine and herbal supplements.
Dr Condon said that the study had important implications for prescribing practices.
“If you have a chronic pain condition and are prescribed one of these different therapies, then your overall cost is going up, because you’re taking the time to treat the pain,” he said.
“You’re also paying for the additional treatments you have to do, so the amount of money you’re saving is quite significant.”
The study found the most common treatment for chronic painful conditions in Ireland was acupuncture.
“The cost per patient was almost the same for both acupuncture and massage,” Dr Condon explained.
“It’s not as cheap as a placebo, but it’s much less expensive, and that’s because you don’t need to administer the treatment.”
And for those who are more sensitive to pain, it’s more effective.”
According to the study, acupuncture was the most commonly prescribed treatment for patients with chronic pain in Ireland.
The authors said the study highlighted the importance of making informed choices when it came to pain treatment.
The researchers say more research needs to be done to understand how effective and safe these treatments are, and to determine how they can be used more widely.
Dr Daniel Gormley, chief executive of the Pain Society of Ireland, said it was important to be cautious when considering the benefits of these treatments.”
This study is one more reminder that it’s important to have a thorough understanding of all the different treatments available and how they are delivered and what the impact is on people,” he added.”
People should be mindful of how they’re spending their money, whether it’s on prescription drugs or alternative treatments.