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Patients ‘have a lot more respect’ for non-opioids after trial, appreciate specialized care: study

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Indianapolis — Some patients who – as part of a study – received non-opioid painkillers for chronic back, hip and knee pain expressed awe at how the drugs compared to opioid-based treatment in terms of effectiveness, according to researchers from the Regenstrief Institute.

Researchers interviewed 34 adult participants from a previously completed, yearlong trial that analyzed opioid treatment vs. non-opioid treatment for chronic musculoskeletal pain. Findings showed that some participants’ previous beliefs about opioids changed during the trial as they became experienced with non-opioid treatment approaches.

The researchers also found that “personalized care by someone who cares – in this case a pharmacist – often meant more to patients than the actual medications they were taking,” Marianne Matthias, Regenstrief Institute research scientist and study co-author, said in an Aug. 14 press release. “Patients seem to value working with someone who cares about them and can help to meet their physical and emotional needs.”

The release includes various positive patient testimonials about non-opioids. According to one patient: “I assumed … opioids were powerful. So they were necessary for extreme pain, when that’s not the case. So I do have a lot more respect, I guess, for non-opioids.”

More than 42,000 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states. Preliminary agency estimates show that figure climbed to nearly 48,000 in 2017.

The study was published in the September edition of the Journal of Pain.

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