Originally published on The Mighty
A study of 96 clinical trials came to the conclusion that opioids aren’t very effective for chronic non-cancer pain. The study was published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and quickly got the attention of news media, reported on with headlines like “Opioids offer little chronic pain benefit and wane over time” (CNN) and “Opioids don’t work well for chronic pain and are overused, study finds” (NBC News).
If I didn’t know much about chronic pain, I’d say wow — it sounds like a great way to solve the opioid crisis would be to just stop prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Indeed, these types of studies are typically used to justify limiting opioid prescribing for chronic pain. But the study is missing the deeper story and challenges behind chronic pain and opioids, and risks making it even harder for people to get relief from their pain.
Here are four things to remember in light of the new JAMA opioid study.