Govt seeks to raise profile of adhesive arachnoiditis

Adhesive arachnoiditis is a rare disease for which there is no reliable prevalence data. It is caused by scarring of the arachnoid membrane, generating neuropathic pain, and can also lead to impaired sexual function.

An oil-based dye used for myelograms, marketed by GSK as Myodil from the 1950s to the 1980s in Australia, is implicated in causing the condition. 

“As a consequence, often many years post-procedure, some individuals have developed adhesive arachnoiditis,” the committee said.

Court cases ensued in several countries, with the bulk of litigation in Australia resolved in a 2000 class action. 

A report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing last week recommended the RACGP and Medicare Locals raise awareness of the condition among GPs. 

Radiologist and emeritus professor Michael Sage, from Flinders University, said diagnosis was difficult because there was a

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