Physician Assistant Program
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
Richardson, Zoe, "Evaluating the Efficacy of Opioids vs Nonopioids in Chronic Pain Patients" (2023). Summer Interdisciplinary Research Symposium. 168.