original abstract†Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
The classification of morphine as a step III analgesic, based on pharmacological data, creates a strong bias toward a belief in the efficacy of this drug. However, double-blind emergency-room trials showed similar levels of pain relief with intravenous acetaminophen as with intravenous morphine in patients with renal colic, low back pain or acute limb pain. In patients with chronic noncancer low back pain, morphine and other strong opioids in dosages of up to 100mg/day were only slightly more effective than their placebos, no more effective than acetaminophen, and somewhat less effective than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In patients with osteoarthritis, strong opioids were not more effective than NSAIDs and, in some studies, than placebos. The only randomized controlled trial in patients with sciatica found no difference with the placebo. Chronic use of strong opioids can induce hyperalgesia in some patients. Hyperpathia with increased sensitivity to cold leading the patient to request higher dosages should suggest opioid-induced hyperalgesia. Pain specialists in the US have issued a petition asking that strong opioids be used in dosages no higher than 100mg/day of morphine-equivalent, in an effort to decrease the high rate of mortality due to the misuse and abuse of strong opioids (10,000 deaths/year in the US). Healthcare providers often overestimate the efficacy of step III analgesics, despite pain score decreases of only 0.8 to 1.2 points.
- “Efficacy, Tolerability, and Dose-Dependent Effects of Opioid Analgesics for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,” Christina Abdel Shaheed, Chris G Maher, Kylie A Williams, Richard Day, and Andrew J McLachlan, JAMA Intern Med, 2016.
- “Effect of a Single Dose of Oral Opioid and Nonopioid Analgesics on Acute Extremity Pain in the Emergency Department: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” Andrew K Chang, Polly E Bijur, David Esses, Douglas P Barnaby, and Jesse Baer, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2017.
- “Effect of Opioid vs Nonopioid Medications on Pain-Related Function in Patients With Chronic Back Pain or Hip or Knee Osteoarthritis Pain: The SPACE Randomized Clinical Trial,” Erin E Krebs, Amy Gravely, Sean Nugent, Agnes C Jensen, Beth DeRonne, Elizabeth S Goldsmith, Kurt Kroenke, Matthew J Bair, and Siamak Noorbaloochi, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2018.
One article on PainScience.com cites Berthelot 2015 as a source:
- PS Opioids for Chronic Aches & Pains — The nuclear option: “Hillbilly heroin” (Oxycontin), codeine and other opioids for musculoskeletal problems like neck and back pain
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial. Munteanu 2015 Br J Sports Med.
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power. Gronau 2017 Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
- The neck and headaches. Bogduk 2014 Neurol Clin.
- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting. Konstantinou 2012 Eur Spine J.
- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Morelli 2017 Am J Sports Med.