Opioid Use Increases Chronic Pain, Rat Study Finds

Opioid Use Increases Chronic Pain, Rat Study Finds
A new study that finds opioid use increases chronic pain in rats may have important implications for humans, according to researchers from the University of Colorado-Boulder. The researchers found that rats who received morphine for five days experienced chronic pain that continued for several months, by triggering the release of pain signals from spinal cord immune cells called glial cells. The findings may help explain the recent surge in prescription painkiller addiction, Forbes reports. “We are showing for the first time that even a brief exposure to opioids can have long-term negative effects on pain,” study author Peter Grace said in a news release. “We found the treatment was contributing to the problem.” Study co-author Linda Watkins added, “The implications for people taking opioids like morphine, oxycodone and methadone are great, since we show the short-term decision to take such opioids can have devastating consequences of making pain worse and...
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Drug and Alcohol Abuse Linked to Self-Medicating Chronic Pain

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Linked to Self-Medicating Chronic Pain
Many people who abuse drugs or alcohol are self-medicating chronic pain, a new study suggests. Researchers at Boston University studied 589 people who fit the criteria for drug abuse or illicit drug use, and found 87 percent reported chronic pain. Of the 576 patients who used illicit drugs (marijuana, cocaine and/or heroin), 51 percent reported using drugs to treat pain. The study found 81 percent of the 121 people who said they misused prescription opioid painkillers reported they did so to treat their pain. Of the 265 patients who reported any amount of heavy drinking in the past three months, 38 percent said they were self-medicating chronic pain. The researchers found 79 percent of patients determined to be high-risk drinkers were self-medicating, according to Medical Daily . The results appear in the Journal of General Internal Medicine . “While the association between chronic pain and drug addiction has been observed...
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Health Experts Ask for Changes to Pain Treatment Guidelines to Reduce Opioid Use

Health Experts Ask for Changes to Pain Treatment Guidelines to Reduce Opioid Use
A group of state health officials, doctors and consumer advocates is asking the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for changes to pain treatment guidelines to reduce the use of opioid painkillers. The group also has asked the body that accredits hospitals and clinics, the Joint Commission, to re-examine the pain management guidelines it requires institutions to follow, The Wall Street Journal reports. In the letter to CMS, the group said current standards for treating pain are too aggressive and contribute to overuse of opioid painkillers. The letter urges CMS to stop asking patients about how well their pain was controlled in the hospital. CMS uses the answers in making judgments about hospital performance and to determine payment. “Medication is not the only way to manage pain and should not be over-emphasized,” the group wrote. “Setting unrealistic expectations for pain relief can lead to dissatisfaction with care even when...
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Meditation May Provide Non-Opioid Alternative for Pain Relief

Meditation May Provide Non-Opioid Alternative for Pain Relief
A new study suggests meditation can significantly reduce pain, without using the body’s opioid receptors. The findings are especially significant for people who have built up a tolerance to opiate-based medications and are seeking a non-addictive way to reduce pain, the researchers say. “Our finding was surprising and could be important for the millions of chronic pain sufferers who are seeking a fast-acting, non-opiate-based therapy to alleviate their pain,” lead researcher Dr. Fadel Zeidan of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center said in a statement. The study included 78 healthy volunteers, who were injected with either a saline placebo solution or naloxone (Narcan), which blocks the pain-reducing effects of opioids. Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of a drug overdose. The participants were divided into four groups. The first group received naloxone and meditated; the second meditated with no naloxone; the third meditated and received a saline placebo; and the...
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Veterans With Pain, PTSD and Substance Use Disorders May Benefit from Buprenorphine

Veterans With Pain, PTSD and Substance Use Disorders May Benefit from Buprenorphine
Buprenorphine may be more effective than opioid therapy in treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans struggling with chronic pain, PTSD and substance use disorders, a new study suggests. Researchers found twice as many veterans treated with buprenorphine experienced improvement in PTSD symptoms, beginning at eight months and improving up to 24 months. In contrast, symptoms worsened for veterans treated with opioids, Medscape reports. The study included 382 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who were diagnosed with chronic pain, PTSD and substance use disorders. The researchers found 23.7 percent of veterans in the buprenorphine group experienced significant improvement in PTSD symptoms, compared with 11.7 percent of those treated with moderately high doses of opioids. “We rarely see patients who have isolated, chronic pain; and, for that matter we rarely see patients who have isolated PTSD or isolated opioid use disorder,” said lead author Karen Seal, MD,...
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
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