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Friday, July 29, 2011

Chronic Pain Treated With Opioids May Lead to Addiction

While it may not come as much surprise, a large percentage of patients undergoing treatment for chronic pain with opioids meet the criteria for addiction under the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) new definition of addiction. Experts had hoped that the new definition would mean less patients meeting the criteria, one-third of patients undergoing long-term pain therapy with opioids are dealing with addiction, a new study finds. The findings come from a study of 705 patients currently receiving long-term opioid treatment for pain not related to cancer, reports Medical News Today. The researchers conducting the study contrasted the APA’s old and new criteria for addiction, and surprisingly found that the percentage of patients with addiction to opioids was congruent.

The old and new criteria were not too dissimilar, opioid addiction was associated with:
  • being younger than 65
  • having a history of opioid abuse and substance abuse treatment
  • higher opioid withdrawal symptoms
Overall, researchers found that:
  • about 35 percent of patients met the criteria for opioid addiction
  • 21.7 percent of the patients met the criteria for moderate opioid-use disorder
  • 13.2 percent had severe opioid-use disorder

Prescription drugs, even if taken as prescribed, are highly addictive and should be used after all other forms of pain treatment have been exhausted. Going to the doctor when suffering with chronic pain, only to go home suffering from chronic pain and, now, addiction is never a good deal. There are many alternative forms of pain management available to those who are willing to try them, the problem is that most people want the quickest fix to their problems without realizing the new, potentially worse, problems that may arise as a result of consuming such medications. If opioids can be avoided, then avoid them at all costs.

The findings are published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases.

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