Study shows opioids no better than other painkillers for back or knee pain

- A  new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that  patients taking opioid painkillers managed their pain no better than patients taking safer, alternative pain medications.

 That study: Effect of Opioid vs Nonopioid Medications on Pain-Related Function in Patients With Chronic Back Pain or Hip or Knee Osteoarthritis Pain, is the first randomized clinical trial to make a head-to-head comparison between opioids and other forms of pain medications.

 The study involved 240 patients from Veterans Affairs  clinics with moderate to severe chronic back pain, or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain . After the year-long study, researchers found the use of opioids  did not result in significantly improved pain-related function over non-opioid analgesic medications.

 In fact, surprisingly, researchers found participants taking the non-opioid painkillers, such as Tylenol, ibuprofen and lidocaine, experienced less pain intensity than those taking opioid drugs, such as morphine, Vicodin and oxycodone. In addition, patients taking opioid painkillers were more likely to experience negative side effects than those taking non opioid painkillers, according to the study.

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