The PRIME Study

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Research
  4. /
  5. The PRIME Study

The PRIME study (The Prevalence, Impact and Cost of Chronic Non-Cancer Pain in Ireland in Adults) was conducted by the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway. It is a study on the prevalence of chronic pain in Ireland and demonstrates that chronic pain is a health burden in Ireland.

Dr Brian McGuire is the Director of Centre for Pain Research, Director of Clinical Psychology Training Programme NUIG & Clinical Psychologist University Hospital Galway shared research from the study at the Patients Forum on Disease Recognition for Chronic Pain in 2013.

Dr McGuire’s talk begins at the 30 minute mark.

“I think it’s important data. It’s Irish data. When you go to represent to politicians and policymakers about the need for better services – more doctors, more support services, more pain management programmes – they are largely unaware of the extent of the problem. So having information and data is an important part of the argument.”

A study of over 3,000 people, where pain was defined as lasting more than 3 months:

    • 1 in 3 people (35% of all adults) have chronic pain

This is considerably higher than the European study that found it was 13% in Ireland, 19% across Europe. The truth lies somewhere between 13 and 35%. Whatever number it is, it is still an enormous number of people.

    • 1 in 5 people with chronic pain have had pain that has lasted more than 10 years. This is a significant burden of pain and a healthcare burden.
    • 15% of people with chronic pain have clinically relevant depression.

That number is 5 times the amount when compared to people living with depression without chronic pain. So depression is a very common, prevalent complication. 


    • 12% are either unable to work or have to reduce their work hours because of the pain
    • People with chronic pain are 3 times more likely to be unemployed due to their chronic pain.
    • Pain increases in frequency over the lifespan of an individual. At about 50/60 years of age, the prevalence of chronic pain starts to increase by 50%
    • The associated costs of chronic pain for people with the most severe levels of pain can be €30,000 per person per year
    • The cost of chronic pain in Ireland is over €5 billion per year. That is almost 3% of GDP, an enormous amount of money
    • 15% of people with intellectual disability have chronic pain, on average their pain lasts 6 years (these are most likely underestimates as some of the research was conducted with carers, not the individuals)
Previous Next
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this
Skip to content