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Upping the opioid dose doesn’t reduce pain levels

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A stronger dose isn’t any more effective at lowering pain than the original, lower dose of the powerful painkiller, a new research study has discovered.

Doctors who are thinking of increasing the prescription need to tread very carefully, especially as it raises the risk of the patient becoming addicted, say researchers from the Central Arkansas and Minneapolis VA healthcare systems.

They looked at the records of more than 50,000 VA patients who were taking opioids and discovered that the 21,000 whose dose was increased weren’t seeing any “meaningful improvements in pain.”

Raising the dose doesn’t bring benefits, but it does bring risks, said lead researcher Corey Hayes. “Our overall message is that when you’re thinking about increasing the dose, you need to realize the risk it brings too,” he said.

(Source: Pain, 2020; 1: doi: 10.1097/j.painm.1784)

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Article Topics: opioid, Pain, patient
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