Findings May Reduce Need for Opioid Analgesics

In research presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, PAINWeek faculty member Forest Tennant, MD, DrPH, reported results of a small study indicating the efficacy of combining two hormones to treat chronic pain. Released naturally during pregnancy and childbirth, the two hormones worked similarly when administered simultaneously to patients with intractable pain.

The study reported that 7 of 9 patients reported a 30 percent to 40 percent decrease in pain after taking doses of oxytocin and human chorionic gonadotropin. These patients also reported improvement in the intensity of pain flare-ups and longer time between flares. In addition, the level of opioid painkillers needed declined by 30 percent to 40 percent.  Side effects from the therapy were remarkably few, probably because the hormones are natural, bio-identical compounds.

Dr. Tennant stated that the next step is more research to determine whether the hormones could be an alternative treatment for chronic pain. Read a news story about the study here.

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