Study: Only Half of Pain Patients Respond to Therapies

In a survey of a wide range of pain management modalities, only about half of treated patients had a response and the pain was reduced only about 30 percent, according to a report in the Lancet.


Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle reviewed findings on key pain management therapies and found that:


  • Opioids were the most commonly prescribed drugs for pain, with sales increasing more than 175 percent from 1997-2006, yet they provide only small improvements in pain and function and have significant harmful side-effects.


  • Epidural steroid injections in patients with radiculopathy have shown some efficacy with prolapsed lumbar discs.


  • Lumbar fusion for back pain has shown some benefit, but are tied to high complication rates and repeat procedures.


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but less is known about potential benefits for fibromyalgia or neuropathic pain.


  • Gabapentin and pregabalin (Lyrica) are beneficial for neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia, but side effects include fatigue and weight gain.


Read the Lancet report on pain management.

Related Articles on Pain Management:

6 Ways Comprehensive Pain Management Clinics Differ from Pill Mills

Impact on Pain Management of the New Outcomes Research Institute: Q&A With Dr. Laxmaiah Manchikanti

Washington State Program to Continue Payment for Some Spinal Injections

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