According to a randomized trial reported today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, opioids are no better than non-opioid medications at treating chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain. The Strategies for Prescribing Analgesics Comparative Effectiveness trial compared opioid therapy with non-opioid medication therapy over 12 months for 240 primary care patients in the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System who had moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain despite analgesic use. The study found no difference in pain-related function or health-related quality of life between the group receiving opioid therapy and the group receiving non-opioid medication therapy, while pain intensity was better in the non-opioid group and adverse medication-related symptoms were more common in the opioid group.
 

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