Faculty Sponsor

Jana Stedman




Physician Assistant Program

ORCID Identifier(s)


Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Summer 7-26-2023


Objective: The purpose of this report is to assess the effectiveness of opioids compared to nonopioids in managing chronic noncancer pain. Methods: Randomized control trials, meta analyses, and systematic reviews published in 2018 or later were searched in medical research databases including PubMed, JAMA, Medline Plus, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar. Sources were included that expand on data from RCTs assessing the efficacy of opioids, nonopioids, or both as treatment for chronic noncancer pain in adults. A total of six articles with a diverse patient population were selected and reviewed which included 2 RCTs, 2 meta-analyses, and 2 systematic reviews. The primary outcome measures were quantified through pain relief and intensity, physical functioning, and sleep quality. Results: Among these articles, findings indicate that both opioid and nonopioid pharmacologic therapy are comparable in pain reduction. Furthermore, opioid treatment compared to nonopioid treatment was not superior in treating adults with chronic noncancer pain in regards to pain relief, pain intensity, physical functioning, and sleep quality. Conclusion: This comprehensive analysis indicates that nonopioid medication can be equally effective as opioids for treatment of chronic pain in addition to offering a superior safety profile. Nonopioid analgesics should be exhausted prior to prescribing opioids for chronic noncancer pain due to insufficient evidence to support the superiority of opioids.

Key Words: chronic pain, opioids, nonopioids, analgesics, noncancer

Biographical Information about Author(s)

As a soon-to-be new graduate of the MSPA program at Valpo, I completed 9 clinical rotations and have collaboratively treated over 1000 patients this past year. Through my first months as a clinician in training, I quickly realized how significantly prevalent chronic pain is among our population and how it impacts patients' quality of life, mental and physical health, productivity, and social connections. This inspired me to research the efficacy of various analgesics to target the most appropriate and safest treatment options for patients with chronic pain.