In the News

  • Patient Outcomes in Dose Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Therapy: A Systematic Review.

    BACKGROUND: Expert guidelines recommend reducing or discontinuing long-term opioid therapy (LTOT) when risks outweigh benefits, but evidence on the effect of dose reduction on patient outcomes has not been systematically reviewed.

    PURPOSE: To synthesize studies of the effectiveness of strategies to reduce or discontinue LTOT and patient outcomes after dose reduction among adults prescribed LTOT for chronic pain.

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  • Sustained improvements in pain, mood, function and opioid use post interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation in patients weaned from high and low dose chronic opioid therapy.

    Increased prescribing of opioids for chronic noncancer pain is associated with significant social costs, including overdose and addiction. In this context, there is interest in interdisciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation programs focusing on self-management and minimizing opioid use. This study examined outcomes of patients weaned from opioids in an ICPRP from 2007 to 2012. Participants included 413 patients on high dose chronic opioid therapy (COT; >100 mg), 528 on low dose COT, and 516 not on opioids (NO).

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  • Opioid Tapering in Fibromyalgia Patients: Experience from an Interdisciplinary Pain Rehabilitation Program.

    OBJECTIVE: Despite current guideline recommendations against the use of opioids for the treatment of fibromyalgia pain, opioid use is reported in approximately 30% of the patient population. There is a lack of information describing the process and results of tapering of chronic opioids. The purpose of this study is to describe opioid tapering and withdrawal symptoms in fibromyalgia patients on opioids.

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  • Predictors of Improvements in Pain Intensity in a National Cohort of Older Veterans With Chronic Pain.

    Little is known about the factors associated with pain-related outcomes in older adults. In this observational study, we sought to identify patient factors associated with improvements in pain intensity in a national cohort of older veterans with chronic pain. We included 12,924 veterans receiving treatment from the Veterans Health Administration with persistently elevated numeric rating scale scores in 2010 who had not been prescribed opioids in the previous 12 months. We examined: 1) percentage decrease over 12 months in average pain intensity scores relative to average baseline pain intensity score; and 2) time to sustained improvement in average pain intensity scores, defined as a 30% reduction in 3-month scores compared with baseline.

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  • Association of levels of opioid use with pain and activity interference among patients initiating chronic opioid therapy: a longitudinal study.

    Little is known about long-term pain and function outcomes among patients with chronic noncancer pain initiating chronic opioid therapy (COT). In the Middle-Aged/Seniors Chronic Opioid Therapy study of patients identified through electronic pharmacy records as initiating COT for chronic noncancer pain, we examined the relationships between level of opioid use (over the 120 days before outcome assessment) and pain and activity interference outcomes at 4- and 12-month follow-ups. Patients aged 45+ years (N = 1477) completed a baseline interview; 1311 and 1157 of these comprised the 4- and 12-month analysis samples, respectively. Opioid use was classified based on self-report and electronic pharmacy records for the 120 days before the 4- and 12-month outcome assessments.

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  • Successful interventions in decreasing oxycodone CR prescriptions within an underserved population.

    OBJECTIVE: To use fundamental population health and Patient Centered Medical Home guidelines to create an effective intervention that would decrease the quantity of inappropriate oxycodone controlled release (CR) prescriptions within an uninsured population.

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  • Opioid interruptions, pain, and withdrawal symptoms in nursing home residents.

    PURPOSE: Interruptions in opioid use have the potential to cause pain relapse and withdrawal symptoms. The objectives of this study were to observe patterns of opioid interruption during acute illness in nursing home residents and examine associations between interruptions and pain and withdrawal symptoms.

    METHODS: Patients from 3 nursing homes in a metropolitan area who were prescribed opioids were assessed for symptoms of pain and withdrawal by researchers blinded to opioid dosage received, using the Brief Pain Inventory Scale and the Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale, respectively, during prespecified time periods.

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  • [Clinical expirience in opioid switch for noncancer chronic pain treatment].

    BACKGROUND: The implementation of opioid switch (OS) as a strategy in non-malignant chronic pain has been scarcely proved. This article aims to evaluate the results of OS in a Pain Treatment Unit.

    METHODS: This is an observational retrospective study in which all patients who had been subjeted to OS for a period of 18 months were selected. All of them had been treated with opiods plus adyuvants for more than 6 months and had a visual analog scale (VAS) of at least 5, either with or without adverse effects.

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  • Opioid-induced hyperalgesia: when pain killers make pain worse.

    A 44-year-old woman had a temporal glioma and was admitted to the hospice with pain that was not controlled despite escalating opioids. Her pain levels rose after every dose increase resulting now in continuous pain, making her very low in mood. Her short-term memory had also declined in a stepwise fashion with each increase in opioids. Additionally, her poor health had had a detrimental effect on family life. Physical examination was difficult due to allodynia but no major abnormality was found.

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  • Opioid use 12 months following interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation with weaning.

    OBJECTIVES: To examine the frequency of and factors predicting opioid resumption among patients with chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) and therapeutic opioid addiction (TOA) treated in an interdisciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation program (CPRP) incorporating opioid weaning.

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