The use of opioids for osteoarthritis has little benefit and a high risk of adverse events, experts

Research The conclusions made by the University of Sydney show that opioids for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, provide little improvement and actually increase the risk of adverse events. ..

OA is Osteoarthritis This generally affects the elderly. This disorder is due to the erosion of the articular cartilage, which helps smooth and protect the joints, resulting in the bones rubbing against each other, causing pain and inflammation.

Current, Most common medicine OA is treated with NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and pain, and pain-targeting analgesics.

Opioids such as tramadol, oxycodone, and codeine Used to treat OA pain It is often prescribed for osteoarthritis of the knee joint or chronic pain in osteoarthritis. However, these are not the first choice and are often used in the short term in synergies with analgesics such as NSAIDs, paracetamol and ibuprofen.

In addition, more potent opioids such as fentanyl and buprenorphine are also given by skin injection for OA.

A study led by Dr. Christina Abdel Shaheed claims that advice on the use of opioid analgesics is currently “inconsistent,” even though 40% of patients with knee osteoarthritis in the United States are treated with opioids. doing.

Shaheed and her team have previously worked with opioid treatment to investigate the efficacy of the drug in the treatment of osteoarthritis pain, disability, health-related quality of life, and adverse event data from 36 trials. Randomized and placebo-controlled trials were reviewed and analyzed.

The results of 19 trials of mid-term treatment showed that opioids had a low-quality effect on pain relief, and 16 trials had a modest effect on disability.

The opioid tramadol was found to be statistically significant in both disorders with a slight reduction in pain during medium-term use.

However, the authors write that “given the very small effects, the suitability of single-component opioids for managing osteoarthritis is controversial.”

Nonetheless, the team advised that “for some people with osteoarthritis, short-term use of these combination analgesics may be a reasonable option,” and the drug is common. It is prescribed for joint pain.

Nonetheless, 16 intervention studies have shown that patients are at increased risk of adverse events when opioids are administered.

Studies have shown that participants in the control group suffer a greater proportion of adverse effects, as opposed to the placebo group. The most common adverse events are gastrointestinal events such as nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea.

Shaheed and her colleagues also revealed the current general belief that increasing opioid doses improve the effectiveness of treatment, with doses being “statistically significant” with some pain relief or the occurrence of adverse events. We performed an analysis showing that it was not “related to”.

The authors sought further research on the adverse effects of opioids, and although there is an association between adverse events and opioids, the association is small.

“We need to investigate alternative pain management strategies for people with osteoarthritis, and opioid-saving and tapering strategies for people being treated with opioids.”

Marina Chan


Marina Chan is based in Melbourne and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at [email protected]

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