Two articles on PainSci cite Berthelot 2015: 1. How to Treat Sciatic Nerve Pain 2. Opioids for Chronic Aches & Pains
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,” Shaheed et al, 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,” Chang et al, 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,” Krebs et al, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2018.
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:
- Cannabidiol (CBD) products for pain: ineffective, expensive, and with potential harms. Moore 2023 J Pain.
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.