Opioids: Not the Only Option for Pain Treatment

Opioids may not better than other options for back, knee and hip pain

(RxWiki News) When it comes to the treatment of chronic back, hip and knee pain, opioids may not be better than other medications for improving function, a new study found.

Over the course of a year, opioids like morphine and oxycodone did not appear to improve pain that interfered with daily activities more than non-opioid options like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Opioids have contributed to an increasing number of overdoses and cases of abuse. These researchers said their findings don't support starting an opioid for the management of moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain. 

In fact, among the 240 patients in this study, those who took non-opioid pain medications had less intense pain and fewer negative side effects when compared to the opioid group, this study found.

All of the study participants were patients at Veterans Affairs clinics, which means these results may not apply to other patient groups in the same way. Still, it's important to ask your health care provider about the safety and effectiveness of any medication you're prescribed.

This study was published in JAMA.

Information on study funding sources and potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.