Three major components of Vitamin-B complex series enhance the efficacy of analgesics when taken as a co-medication, and in some diseases, vitamins alone are effective if nutrition is the main problem, said two internationally-renowned German researchers and scientists Prof. Manfred Zimmermann and Prof. Wilfred A.Nix, while talking to The Nation on Friday.
Prof. Wilfred A.Nix said vitamins are important substances for body, but Vitamin-B, in addition to nutrition, is particularly essential. “Vitamin B1, B6 and B12 have positive effects on pain. In case the pain is a complex problem, one needs co-medication, that is, taking it along with analgesics. This combination reduces the dosage, which is usually prescribed and used for pain management. In other words, the effectiveness of analgesic is enhanced by these Vitamin-B variants,” he added. For excruciating pains, he averred that Vitamin-B added to the effectiveness of the strong painkillers. “There are two types of pains; first pain is caused when nerves are exposed, which is called as ‘Inflammatory pain’ and to treat this, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) are used. Second type is caused when the whole nervous system is adversely affected. This is also called as ‘Nerve pain’, and for this NSAIDS should not be recommended because these will be superfluous. For the second type of pain, nutrition stabilises nerves and co-medication is a possibility depending upon the patient’s condition,” he said.
While talking about the cancer patients, Prof. Nix said they experience both types of pains. “Patients cannot tell what type of pain they are experiencing, rather it is the responsibility to know and find out the type. Sometimes, these two pains can occur simultaneously. How much is one type or the other, is to be figured out as well. Sometimes, pain is also not well-localised,” he stated.
He maintained that pain was thought to be because of an ill-fate, “but now we know the mechanism of pain, and we know the methodology of dealing with it. It is important to educate the population about pain,” he said.
Prof. Manfred Zimmermann dilated upon incidence and epidemiology of pain. “In Europe, 50 percent of the adult population experience one type or the other pain. Out of this proportion, 5 to 10 percent of the older population go through excruciating pains. Earlier, the medical system did not concentrate on pain, and even religious meanings were attached to it. Interestingly, it was ignored in the modern medicine too. But now, one should not be giving it any dubious sense, and should not live with it. Pain also has an emotional aspect, and its treatment has a lot to do with the history of the patient,” he stated. Prof. Zimmermann maintained that the concept of pain is about the whole personality and sometimes “it is not necessary to treat pain with medication, rather changing of lifestyle and sleeping or working hours helps in dealing with it. It has an important connection with stress, relationship among family members and the social reward if the patient expresses pain, which is the commonest factor. This recognise-reward situation is connected with the family and workplace,” he said. “Analgesic capabilities are in the nervous system and strong pain inhibitory system is in the body. Pain control system, which is always active, can be stimulated by various methods – drugs, physiotherapy and psychology. However, the best remedy is in our nervous system, and external remedy activates the system for which Vitamin-B plays an important role because this vitamin is neuro tropic,” he stated.
Both professors agreed that analgesics could cause dependence and addiction. They also maintained that deficiency of vitamins could cause diseases, especially among older people. “Though vitamins do not have side-effects, but recommended dosage should be taken. These reduce the rate of dying cells, especially Vitamin-B, which helps the nerve cells to survive,” they said.
While talking about their visit to Pakistan, both professors said the Pakistani doctors took great interest in the symposia. “Our objective is to create awareness about pain management. We have visited two hospitals here, and are impressed by the dedication of the doctors in treating their patients. Medicine is highly advanced here,” they said.
Prof. Manfred Zimmermann has experimented on animals and cell cultures in this regard. He is founder of International Pain Society and co-founder German Pain Society, of which he remained president for 20 years.Both the professors are in the country in connection with a series of symposia in Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta, being arranged under the aegis of Merck Marker (Pvt.) Ltd. “This company brings latest research to Pakistan for the doctors, who cannot proceed abroad. Pharmaceutical companies should shoulder responsibility of disseminating latest information to Pakistani doctors,” said Ghulam Mujtaba Khan, a representative of the company.