publication date: Dec. 22, 2016

Pain Management

Opioids Not Helpful in Treating Chronic Pain, Geisinger Study Finds

A new study by Geisinger Health System physicians reports that the use of opioid therapy to treat chronic pain is not only ineffective, it can actually increase the likelihood of more harmful consequences, including death.

Palliative care physicians Mellar Davis and Zankhana Mehta authored the study which provides a review of the current research on chronic opioid therapy. The study was published in the December 2016 edition of Current Oncology Reports.

“When patients are given opioid therapy for chronic pain, there is evidence that it interferes with the body’s natural resolution of the pain,” said Davis, who co-chaired the 2015 International Conference on Opioids at Harvard Medical School. “Opioid therapy may put someone at an increased risk for multiple adverse effects. And it actually has the potential of extending the history of their pain.”

The authors wrote that the risk of addiction, depression, central hypogonadism—where the hypothalamus and pituitary glands don’t function properly—sleep-disordered breathing, impaired wound healing, infections, cognitive impairment, falls, fractures and death increase in patients on chronic opioid therapy.

The Geisinger physicians acknowledge that the use of opioids has been helpful in reducing the intensity of acute pain—sudden pain due to injury that doesn’t last long—and in managing pain associated … Continue reading CCL Dec 2016 – Opioids Not Helpful in Treating Chronic Pain, Geisinger Study Finds

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