Update: WHO revision of pain management guidelines

This is an update of the August 2019 information brief on WHO’s revision of the two following guidelines:

  • Ensuring balance in national policies on controlled substances: Guidance for availability and accessibility of controlled medicines (2011)
  • WHO guidelines on the pharmacological treatment of persisting pain in children with medical illnesses (2012)

WHO guideline on ensuring balanced national policies for access and safe use of controlled medicines

Guideline on the management of chronic pain in children

Guideline Stage Lead WHO technical unit Access to Medicines and Health Products

[email protected]

Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing
Planning WHO GRC planning approval received March 2020 January 2020
Scope The proposed scope for this guideline has been developed and is available here.The proposed scope for this guideline was developed following the public hearing in which stakeholders expressed their views.

The proposed scope for this guideline has been developed and is available at the following link:

WHO Guideline for the management of chronic pain in children

Public hearing A public hearing regarding the scope of the guideline took place on 19 February 2020. The written statements submitted on the guideline have been consolidated and can be found here. A public hearing in relation to the scope of the guideline for the management of chronic pain in children was held on 16th January 2020. Views were expressed on the proposed scope by 49 different stakeholders across the different WHO regions. These included academic groups, NGOs, practitioners and patient representatives.
Appointment of GDG The list of Guideline Development Group members has been confirmed and is available here.

Public comments on the proposed list were accepted until 9th February 2020.

The list of Guideline Development Group members for the guideline for the management of chronic pain in children is available here.

Public comments on the proposed list were accepted until 14 January 2020.

Planning- initial GDG meeting The first GDG meeting was held in June 2020 to finalise the scope of the guideline.

A second GDG meeting is scheduled for 15th December 2020 to prioritise outcomes.

The first GDG meeting was held on 24th January 2020 to finalise the scope of the guideline and prioritise outcomes.

The guideline will answer the following key question: among children with chronic pain (population), would giving pharmacologic, physical, psychological or a combination of these (intervention), compared to standard care or active comparators (comparator), result in change of pain experience, functional disability, health-related quality of life and other critical outcomes (outcomes)?

Synthesis of evidence WHO Procurement issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) from specialist technical experts. A systematic review team has been selected. WHO Procurement issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) from specialist technical experts. A systematic review team was selected.

Systematic and comprehensive evidence retrieval and synthesis on the effectiveness, safety and sociocultural acceptability of the possible interventions is being done by the Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care (PaPas) group, Cochrane Qualitative Implementation methods Group (QIMG) and the Cochrane Response team.

Development Development- GDG meeting A GDG meeting is planned for May 2021 to review the outcomes of the systematic review and evidence synthesis A second meeting of the GDG took place on 14-18 September 2020 wherein they formulated recommendations based on the evidence and other explicit considerations.
Editing / peer review External Review Group An External Review Group (ERG) has been appointed for consultation and peer review An External Review Group (ERG) has been appointed for consultation and peer review.
Finalisation Expected publication date The final guideline will be submitted to the WHO Guideline Review Committee for final approval.

The guideline is expected to be published Mid 2021

The final guideline was submitted to the WHO Guideline Review Committee on 15 October 2020 and have been approved.

The guideline is expected to be published in December 2020

Interim guidance: Whilst the documents are being updated, countries in need of guidance on pain management can:

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.