For all their risks, opioids had no pain-relieving advantage in a yearlong clinical trial

In the first randomized clinical trial to make a head-to-head comparison between opioids and other kinds of pain medications, patients who took opioids fared no better over the long term than patients who used safer alternatives.

“There was no significant difference in pain-related function between the 2 groups over 12 months,” researchers reported Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

…”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.

… Over the course of a year, 41% of those taking opioids saw at least a 30% improvement in their pain severity, as did 54% of those who weren’t on opioids.

Measures of how pain interfered with things like work, sleep, mood and general enjoyment of life were nearly identical in both groups. On a scale of 0 to 10, the average score was 3.4 for those on opioids and 3.3 for those who weren’t. After 12 months, 59% of those in the opioid group and 61% of those in the nonopioid group reported an improvement of at least 30%.

…Patients in the opioid group had significantly more trouble with medication-related symptoms.

For all their risks, opioids had no pain-relieving advantage in a yearlong clinical trial

No shit, Sherlock?!


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