Opioids unnecessary for chronic pain

Friday, 09 March, 2018

Opioids unnecessary for chronic pain

For those with chronic pain, hip or knee pain, a US clinical trial has found that non-opioid pain medicines are as good as opioids at treating symptoms.

The randomised clinical trial was small, focusing on just 240 patients from Veterans Affairs Health Care System clinics with moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis, and was conducted between 2013 and 2016.

However, the results found that opioid-based medicines were no better than non-opioids at improving pain that interfered with activities such as walking, work and sleep.

Given there is limited evidence regarding long-term outcomes for treatment of chronic pain with opioids compared with non-opioid medications, this study suggests more comprehensive research would be worthwhile.

Nonetheless, as US and Australian doctors try to reduce opioid prescriptions, the researchers say their result suggests that people with this kind of pain could easily go with an alternative.

The study, published online by the JAMA Network, is available here.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/OlegDoroshin

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