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Opioid Study Shocker – Or Was It Really Surprise Conclusion

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Opioid Study Shows No Improvement over Nsaids or Acetaminophen

A recent opioid study – great article in the Los Angeles Times – indicated that after a yearlong study opioids showed no great improvement in lessening pain than over-the-counter painkillers.  

chemical diagram of opioid study paracetamol
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Another recent study indicated the same result.  I am unable to find that article presently.   Who would have thought that hydrocodone was not more effective than ibuprofen? 

What made this study different was that it was a clinical trial, not just some researchers going through anecdotal data.   The original article from the Journal Of American Medicine can be found here.    I highly recommend reviewing the study abstract – just amazing. 

The clinical trial opioid study involved 240 patients.  This number may seem small.   Then again, the study consisted of a pure clinical trial which hold much more weight with a limited number of patients.  

The findings were:

In this randomized clinical trial that included 240 patients, the use of opioid vs nonopioid medication therapy did not result in significantly better pain-related function over 12 months (3.4 vs 3.3 points on an 11-point scale at 12 months, respectively).

This study does not support initiation of opioid therapy for moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain.

In my personal experience, I had assisted two friends home from outpatient surgeries.  Each of them had a RX for hydrocodone.  It did not lessen their discomfort.   

However, much to my amazement – rapid release acetaminophen had a greater pain-reducing effect.  The rapid release stopped their pain in its tracks after trying a few doses of hydrocodone. 

I published this article on opioids in July 2017.  It is one of the most popular reads when I post it to LinkedIn.  The data in that study showed that a very large percentage of opioid users were actually mentally ill. 

I am sure more studies are planned in this controversial topic.

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2 Responses

  1. People have died of liver failure to due Tylenol and GI Bleeds because of NSAIDS.. Opiates relieve pain not cure
    it and neither does tylenol or Nsaids cure the pain issues. For temporary pain, Tylenol and NSAIDS but for permanent long term pain, it is Opiates that go directly to the brain nerve center. Nsaids also cause lethargy.
    Nothing should be put into one wide net, especially for those who suffer ongoing and permanent pain.

  2. Dina, I was mainly just quoting the study from the Journal of the American Medical Association. If one takes huge doses of Tylenol or NSAIDS, there can be bodily harm. A new study just came out from WCRI (Workers Compensation Research Institute that links longer periods of work disability with opioids. I am going to write an article on their study next week. Thanks for your comments. They are very appreciated.

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James Moore

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Mgmt Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

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  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
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