October 20, 2017 – A Place for Opioids
Anchor lead: There is a role for opioid medications in managing some chronic pain, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Now that federal authorities are so focused on curtailing the opioid epidemic, does that mean that there’s no place for these medicines in the treatment of chronic pain? Not at all, says Michael Clark, a pain expert who spoke at a recent Johns Hopkins symposium on chronic pain management.
Clark: These are substances with abuse potential. Some set percentage of people will develop an addiction, we don’t really know how to predict that. All we can really say is that we have to be clear about our outcomes for the patient so that if I give you opioids and you become more functional, your symptoms improve, your approach to living your life is better, any of those things that we would put under a functional, satisfying life, then it would be hard to argue with giving you opioids. :31
Clark is in favor of short courses of the drugs as part of a comprehensive pain management strategy with an eye toward eliminating opioids if possible. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.