Opioids Don’t Provide More Benefits Than Safer Nonopioid Drugs for Relieving Pain

A new JAMA study has shown that opioid drugs traditionally used as the first-line treatment for moderate to severe chronic back pain and arthritic knee or hip pain were no more effective than safer over-the-counter medications.

The year-long SPACE randomized clinical trial comes at a critical time in our national war against opioid addiction which claimed 64,000 lives from drug overdoses in 2016 alone—more than three times the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in 1999.

“While opioids are no better as a first choice treatment for back pain and arthritis, we can’t ignore the toxicity of nonopioid NSAIDs used in the study,” says board certified internist and pain expert Jacob Teitelbaum, MD.  According to Dr. Teitelbaum, natural options are safer and often more effective for treating chronic pain conditions.

His landmark research published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (8:2,2001) showed that an integrative approach to treating fibromyalgia pain produced a 91 percent improvement in quality of life among 90 percent of subjects.

“The issue is not whether narcotics have a role. Of course they do, viz., for post-op, post-injury, and in cancer,” he says. “The question that needs to be asked—and isn’t—is how to use the broad mix of natural and pharmaceutical options most effectively and safely. A prudent integrated approach allows narcotics to be used properly, much less often, and much more safely.”

“It’s when other treatments don’t work, and for other kinds of pain that respond poorly to NSAIDs, that narcotics, used properly, can be a lifesaver…But we need to also consider the many natural and holistic treatments that have been found to work effectively for pain. This is an egregiously overlooked area that could be the lynchpin for solving the national opioid crisis.”

Dr. Teitelbaum is author of the perennial bestseller From Fatigued to Fantastic!, and Pain Free 1-2-3, and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. 

For more information on effective integrative approaches for treating pain, visit www.vitality101.com.

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