The American Academy of Neurology has announced a new position on the use of opioids for patients who suffer from back pain, headaches, and migraines on a daily basis. According to Dr. Gary Franklin, research professor at the academy, while the medication may work to dull pain, the risk of addiction and overdose are high enough that doctors should seek alternative ways to help patients manage the pain. Opioids are simply a short term solution with dire risks. The study follows on a study published in 2003 by the New England Journal of Medicine which demonstrated that despite high rates of opioid prescription among patients with chronic pain, many failed to improve.
In a statement to Time.com, Dr. Franklin states,
This is the first position paper by a major American specialty society saying that there is a real problem here and the risk might not be worth the benefit for certain conditions.”
According to Dr. Jane Ballantyne, author of the 2003 study, the prescription of opioids has been a fallback option for physicians in the United States.
It’s a cultural thing and it’s hard to reverse that… a lot of chronic pain isn’t appropriate for opiates.”
Previous studies have indicated a regular, moderate exercise regime has been proven to increase the tolerance of chronic pain. Doctors urge patients suffering from chronic pain to seek alternative methods of treatment by working with their physician.
Read more here- “Opioids Don’t Really Improve Patient Health: Study,” (Meredith Engel, NY Daily News)