A Step in the Development of Better Opioid Therapy

A study presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine found that dose reductions in patients receiving high doses of opioid medications did not result in either worsening of pain scores, or increases in medication misuse, and additionally were associated with improvements in patients’ reported quality of life indicators.

The study authors stated that the findings represented just one step in the complex process of understanding which patient characteristics, including pathophysiology, genetics, functional status, behavioral/ psychological/social features, correlate with a better chance of favorably responding to opioid treatment.

Commenting on the study, PAINWeek faculty member Forest Tennant, MD, observed that as clinicians seek to balance effective management of pain with concerns of opioid overuse, it's important that the patient's needs are the bottom line. More data are needed on specific patient characteristics to better determine the true effects of opioid dosing and reduction. Read a news story about the findings here.

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