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Study Reveals Opioids No More Effective Than Safer Alternatives


  10:45:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 249 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Research

Study Reveals Opioids No More Effective Than Safer Alternatives

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Opioid painkillers usually make the headlines because of their addictive dangers, rather than their therapeutic advantages. But now, new research has raised questions as to whether such benefits have been overstated.

A year-long study of individuals suffering from chronic pain revealed that regular use of ibuprofen and other nonopioids proved equally as effective for relieving pain – and in some cases, even more so – than opioids. The 240 participants, all patients who had pain in their backs, hips or knees for at least six months, were randomly assigned to either the opioid or nonopioid group.

"Overall, opioids did not demonstrate any advantage over nonopioid medications that could potentially outweigh their greater risk of harms," wrote the team led by Dr. Erin Krebs of the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System's Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research.

Krebs observed that based on the study results, there's no reason to use opioids given "their really nasty side effects — death and addiction." He added that other studies show that physical therapy, exercise or rehabilitation therapy work best for chronic pain.

"This is a very important study," said Dr. David Reuben, geriatrics chief at UCLA's medical school. "It will likely change the approach to managing long-term back, hip and knee pain."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that opioids should be prescribed only after other therapies have failed, and if prescribed, should be used for no more than seven days.

Read more about the study at the Los Angeles Times and ABC News.

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