Opioids May Help Chronic Pain, But Not Much

[US News, 12/18/18] Potentially addictive opioid painkillers are often prescribed for chronic pain, but they actually work only slightly better than placebo pills, a new review shows.

The analysis, of 96 clinical trials, found that on average, opioids made only a small difference for people with conditions like osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and sciatica.

And the modest pain relief sometimes came at a cost of side effects like nausea, vomiting, constipation and drowsiness.

The researchers said the findings add to evidence that for most people with chronic pain, opioids should be a last resort, if they’re prescribed at all.

“Opioids should not be a first-line therapy for chronic, non-cancer pain,” said lead researcher Jason Busse, of the Institute for Pain Research and Care at McMaster University, in Canada……….

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