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Opioids Not As Effective In Treating Chronic Pain As We Think, Study Says

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Among the list of drugs that are overdosed are opioids, which are primarily used as pain-relievers. However, a study claims that these actually provide little benefits to the patients under chronic pain.

Recent statistics would show that opioids are a common overdose substance that leads to deaths of Americans, but as it turns out, these do not even work well in appeasing pain, its supposed purpose. A new study, published on the Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that non-cancer patients who take the narcotic medicine only experience little improvements in their condition in comparison with placebo.

Risks With Opioids

That's not all — researchers noticed that these benefits wane over time and opioids come with side effects, including nausea and constipation. Add to that the risks in taking the drugs has, including overdose and addiction.

The prescription drugs were as effective as the non-opioid option nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the study found. Moreover, researchers said that other means of treatment, such as an ice or physical therapies, may be better for non-cancer patients.

With the mentioned risks, better alternatives, and other means that offer the same benefits, the researchers suggested that opioids should not be the first that's resorted to by non-cancer patients. This gives light to the common notion that the drug is the key to utmost relief from pain, including headaches, back pains, and post-surgery discomfort.

The study analyzed 96 clinical trials on the opioid use of non-cancer patients who experience chronic pain, totaling 26,169 people. They were given the prescribed drug, a non-opioid treatment, or a placebo in the trials and were observed for a month.

'Modest Effects' Of Opioids On Chronic Pain

The meta-analysis showed that in comparison with placebo, there were 12 percent more non-cancer patient with chronic pain who felt relieved by taking opioid and 6 percent more who reported better sleep. As much as the noted improvements, researchers were still unconvinced.

"These are very modest effects," said the study's lead author Jason Busse of the McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care.

The report comes in the mid of the strengthened crackdown on opioid use and prescription. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 70,000 people who died of overdose, with synthetic opioid fentanyl leading the list of causes.

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