Opioids are not better in treating chronic pain than relieving over-the-counter pain such as ibuprofen and naproxen, according to a study that raises questions about how often the drugs are prescribed, consider the risks they face.
The study, published on Tuesday at the Journal of the American Medical Association, was an analysis of almost 100 studies on the effectiveness of opioids in treating chronic non-cancer pain. The studies compared opioids to placebo as well as other pain relief drugs. The researchers came to the conclusion that opioids were slightly better than placebo when treating pain and providing similar benefits such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. The findings also suggest that opioids are not better than antidepressants for treating pain, but that they can provide better relieve pain or anti-stimulating drugs such as gabapentin and pregabalin.
"This dramatic increase in opioid prescribing was in the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s, and it is only 20 years later, it is clear that these medicines do not work at all , or have an interest, it's very small, "said Nav Persaud, a GP at Ysbyty St. Michael's Toronto and scientist at Li Ka Shing Information Institute of the hospital. It was not part of the study.
According to the study, the research also showed that the moderate benefits provided by opioids seemed to disappear over time, for reasons that are not completely clear. Despite this, many patients were waiting for the drugs for long periods, suggesting that they had been able to withdraw symptoms were difficult and painful if they tried to give them the best, said Jason Busse , leading study author and associate professor in the anesthesia department at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.
"[Opioids] it will not work for most patients. For those who do it, those benefits will often end over time, "he said." So why so many patients, when they start on long-term opioid therapy, will be continue? "
The focus of the Canadian opioid crisis is currently being placed on the increasing number of deaths and hospitals caused by ventilated orphans. But prescription opioids are still an important part of the problem that should not be ignored, said Dr Busse, especially as some evidence suggests that many people who were an oversight of opioids, at the time of death or during a previous point in their lives, have received a prescription for opioid painkiller.
Dr Busse stated that the findings highlighted the need for better access to other pain control procedures, such as mental therapy. He said he was also concerned that many people promoted cannabis as an effective treatment for chronic pain, although there is little clinical data to do this. He said patients and clinicians should wait until there is enough evidence before using cannabis for pain to prevent problems such as the opioid crisis occurring.