In a review published in the Jan. 20 issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, a leading evidence-based-medicine journal, researchers found that only one-third of 1% of chronic-pain patients without a history of substance problems became addicted to opioids during treatment. The review included 4,893 mostly middle-aged chronic-pain patients, who were treated with opioids for between six months and four years. "This suggests that people who do not have a history of drug abuse or addiction are not highly like to develop [addiction] under physician care," says Meredith Noble, lead author of the review and senior research analyst at the ECRI Institute, a health care research and consulting group near Philadelphia.In some cases, however, undertreated pain may contribute to a situation that looks like addiction; patients ask for higher and higher doses and appear to be drug-seeking, when in fact they are looking for effective pain relief.
"We're not saying opioids are innocuous. They are dangerous drugs," says Dr. Bruce Ferrell, who chaired the panel that authored the guidelines. "We are saying that there is a substantial proportion of the population for which opioids might be a better choice than NSAIDs."
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1964782-3,00.html#ixzz0gUI5EURL