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Opioids are of little use in prolonged chronic pain management, says the study

New research suggests that prescription opioids can offer a little more benefit than placebo for patients treated for long-term, non-cancerous pain. The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and first reported by CNN, indicate that the benefits of opioid medication in the treatment of chronic pain decrease over time, while the risk of certain side effects, such as vomiting and constipation, is actually increasing. The analysis included 96 randomized clinical trials involving 26,000 patients who live with chronic pain that are not related to cancer. Dr. Jianguo Cheng, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, told CNN that the results of the study reinforce the efforts of doctors to prescribe fewer opioids. Searching for opioid alternatives becomes common in the treatment of chronic pain, Cheng noted. "We will try the least risky drug first, so opioids are not a first treatment in most cases," he said. "It's not a second treatment line, and maybe not a third line of treatment." Chronic pain is defined as consistent pain that lasts longer than three months, resulting from disease, injury, medical treatment or inflammation, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 1 1 percent of American adults currently live with chronic pain. Louisiana is among states that have taken measures to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions written to treat chronic pain. A state policy introduced last year limits opioid receptions to seven days or 90 milligrams a day, whichever is lower, for Medicaid patients with…

New research suggests that prescription opioids can offer a little more benefit than placebo for patients treated for long-term, non-cancerous pain.

The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and first reported by CNN, indicate that the benefits of opioid medication in the treatment of chronic pain decrease over time, while the risk of certain side effects, such as vomiting and constipation, is actually increasing. The analysis included 96 randomized clinical trials involving 26,000 patients who live with chronic pain that are not related to cancer.

Dr. Jianguo Cheng, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, told CNN that the results of the study reinforce the efforts of doctors to prescribe fewer opioids. Searching for opioid alternatives becomes common in the treatment of chronic pain, Cheng noted.

“We will try the least risky drug first, so opioids are not a first treatment in most cases,” he said. “It’s not a second treatment line, and maybe not a third line of treatment.”

Chronic pain is defined as consistent pain that lasts longer than three months, resulting from disease, injury, medical treatment or inflammation, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 1

1 percent of American adults currently live with chronic pain.

Louisiana is among states that have taken measures to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions written to treat chronic pain. A state policy introduced last year limits opioid receptions to seven days or 90 milligrams a day, whichever is lower, for Medicaid patients with acute pain. In addition, opioid recipes for all Louisiana patients with chronic pain are limited to 90 mg per day. The policy excludes cancer patients, patients in palliative care or suffering from a terminal disease.

In 2013, Louisiana was among states with the highest number of opioid recipes, according to CDC data. The state’s prescription amount has since decreased and fallen from 109 opioid prescriptions per 100 people in 2007 to almost 90 recipes per 100 people in 2017. Still, Louisiana had the 6th highest degree of opioid prescriptions nationwide in 2017.

Read CNN’s full report.

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