Opioids may not spell relief for chronic back pain sufferers with depression or anxiety: Click to see more...



Opioids are frequently prescribed to treat chronic lower back pain, but new research suggests opioids may be less effective in some patients.  A study published in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists® (ASA®), reported that patients who were prescribed opioids to treat chronic lower back pain experienced significantly less pain relief and were more likely to abuse their medication when they had psychiatric disorders such as depression or anxiety.

 

“High levels of depression and anxiety are common in patients with chronic lower back pain,” said Ajay Wasan, M.D., study author and professor of anesthesiology and psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  “Learning that we are able to better predict treatment success or failure by identifying patients with these conditions is significant. This is particularly important for controlled substances such as opioids, where if not prescribed judiciously, patients are exposed to unnecessary risks and a real chance of harm, including addiction or serious side effects.”