Toronto : Abuse and addiction to opioid analgesics, prescribed for chronic pain, is less common than suspected, according to the latest research.
In a review study for pain treatment topics, editor of Pain-Topics.org, Stewart B. Leavitt, that published these findings, summarised the findings of major research investigations of these problems.
“The research is extensive, but requires careful examination,” he noted. “Unfortunately, news media, government agencies, and others have portrayed abuse and addiction associated with prescribed opioids as problems of much larger proportions than seems warranted by the evidence.”
In an extensive review, combining results from 24 clinical studies, the overall rate of prescribed opioid analgesic abuse or addiction in patients with pain was about 3.3 percent, said a Pain.Topics release.
However, fewer than two out of 1,000 (0.19 percent) patients without a current or past substance-use disorder experienced problems with opioids prescribed for pain.
Similarly, clinical investigation of patients receiving daily opioid therapy for chronic non cancer pain prescribed by primary-care physicians found that only 3.7 percent of patients had a confirmed opioid-use disorder. Whether or not any of these patients also had prior substance-use problems was not examined.
A systematic review, encompassing 17 studies of patients with moderate-to-severe chronic noncancer pain who were treated with opioid analgesics for at least six months, found opioid abuse in only 0.4 percent of patients.