International Photographic Exhibition Highlighting Patient Burden of Neuropathic Pain Opens at Scientific Conference

Sep 22, 2011, 13:55 ET from Astellas Pharma Europe Limited

STAINES, England, September 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

The Pain Within, a touring exhibition of portraits and images by award-winning photographer Alex Telfer, reveals the untold stories of some of Europe'speripheral neuropathic pain (PNP) patients

"I find it incredibly hard to be a mother with neuropathic pain"…"It feels like I'm being stabbed with a knife over and over again"…"I wasn't able to work, drive my car or participate in family life" is how just three patients describe their experiences of PNP.

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Raising public awareness of peripheral neuropathic pain (PNP), The Pain Within is a touring exhibition of major European cities which launched today at the 7th congress of the European Federation of IASP Chapters (EFIC) in Hamburg. Top photographer Alex Telfer has worked with patients to capture their experiences in both portraits and visual metaphors for the exhibition, which is sponsored by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. It will then tour in other countries in Europe.

Patients featured in the exhibition include Katharina, who developed neuropathic pain after breaking her arm in a gym class and who experiences persistent stabbing pain. Ulrike, whose pain started after an ankle operation, reveals how neuropathic pain makes it very difficult for her to care for her young daughter. Katharina and Ulrike are just two of the eight subjects of The Pain Withinexhibition. Although their stories are very different, the subjects have one thing in common: they all suffer from neuropathic pain, a condition which is thought to affect between 3% and 8% of the population in Europe.[1,2]

Neuropathic pain can last indefinitely and has been shown to impair patients' overall health-related quality of life. It can have an overwhelming impact on a patient's family life, social life, ability to work and engagement in day-to-day activities.[3,4] Neuropathic pain is also associated with a poorer quality of life than chronic conditions including cancer, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and stroke.[5]The Pain Within tour is intended to raise public awareness of PNP and to foster understanding of the condition and the heavy burden it places on patients.

PNP is a chronic pain caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system and can develop as a result of injuries, surgery or from diseases including diabetes, shingles and HIV or as a result of using some medications. PNP is mediated through nociceptors, which are specialised nerve endings, which become spontaneously active (or hyperactive) or hypersensitive after lesion or disease. There is often nothing visibly 'wrong' with a patient suffering from PNP - yet the pain may be unbearably intense and can be life-changing. Patients liken their pain to a range of very unpleasant sensations including stabbing, burning, electric shocks and being attacked by swarms of ants.

Photographer Alex Telfer says: "My aim for this exhibition was to allow visitors a glimpse into the lives of patients suffering from PNP, so that they could understand their experience and gain an insight into living with this type of chronic pain. I have tried to capture not just how these people look, but also how they perceive their pain and how they feel about it."

Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. is sponsoring The Pain Within exhibition as part of its commitment to people living with PNP.

"PNP is a devastating condition which is made all the more difficult to bear for those who live with it by the fact that it is not well-known or understood," said Ken Jones, President and CEO, Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. "We hope that, by making the invisible visible, this exhibition will help to change that and will play a part in creating an environment in which the needs of patients are more widely recognised."

Notes for Editors

About The Pain Within exhibition tour

The Pain Within exhibition will tour European cities over the coming months. The first exhibition will take place in Hamburg, Germany on 21 September 2011. The exhibition will then continue its tour in Europe.

About Alex Telfer

Alex Telfer is an advertising and editorial photographer born and raised in the North of England, where he still resides. He carries out commissions for a broad roster of advertising agencies across the UK, Europe and USA. Clients for recent assignments include Nike, Nikon, Sony Music, Ernst & Young, Land Rover, EMI, and the BBC. He has run his own advertising photography business since 1992.

Alex's recent honours and awards include being named by Campaign Magazine as its Number One Advertising Photographer of 2009. Other prestigious accolades include The American Photography Annuals 2009 and 2010, Communication Arts Photography Annual 50 and 51, Lurzer's Archive Top 200 Ad Photographers Worldwide 2010, Creative Review Photography Annual and The International Photography Awards.

About Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.:

Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd., located in the UK, is a European subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceuticals. The organisation is committed to becoming a global company by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities and continuing to grow in the world pharmaceutical market. Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. is responsible for 21 affiliate offices located across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, an R&D site and three manufacturing plants. The company employs approximately 3,900 staff across these regions. For more information about Astellas Pharma Europe, please visit


1. Gilron I, et al. Neuropathic pain: a practical guide for the clinician. CMAJ 2006;175:265-275.

2. Mallis Gagnon A, et al. Systematic review of the prevalence of neuropathic pain. Eur J Pain 2007;11(Suppl. 1):S202-S203 [Abstract No. 457].

3. O’Connor A and Dworkin R. Treatment of neuropathic pain: An overview of recent guidelines. American Journal of Medicine 2009;122:S22–S32

4. Gálvez R et al. Cross-sectional evaluation of patient functioning and health-related quality of life in patients with neuropathic pain under standard care conditions. European Journal of Pain 2007;3:244–55

5. Doth A, et al. The burden of pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of health utilities, PAIN 2010, doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.02.034

SOURCE Astellas Pharma Europe Limited