If your doctor has you taking such drugs as
- Vicodin, Hycodan (hydrocodone)
- MS Contin Kadian (morphine)
- Oxycontin, Percoset (oxycodone)
- Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
- Duragesic (fentanyl)
you may want to rethink this approach.
A new paper in the medical journal Neurology, argues that the long-term use of opiate pain killers does not improve the quality of life of those persons suffering from chronic back pain. Dr. Gary Franklin, the study's author, found that opiates can be helpful for short-term use. But the benefit diminishes, and even turns into a liability, for long-term use.
Dr. Franklin found that long-term use of opiates was likely to result in addiction, overuse, or dependence upon the drugs. The study showed that an astounding 100,000 Americans have died, directly or indirectly, from prescribed opioids since the late 1990s. While there is no easy way for people with chronic back pain to go off of drugs that provide relief, Dr. Franklin think they should. Exercise and weight loss can, in some cases, provide as much pain relief as opiates. No one should change his or her current drug regimen without consulting with his or her doctor first. But, it seems like a good topic of discussion next time you see your doctor.
For a discussion of this topic in laymen's terms, check the Time Magazinearticle on this topic.