Opioids vs non-opioids: Which are better?

By: American Nurse Today

In some situations, the answer may be neither. In a recent randomized clinical trial of 240 patients with moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis despite analgesic use, the researchers found no significantly better pain-related function when patients received opioid versus non-opioid medication.

In the opioid group, patients were started on immediate-release morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone/acetaminophen. The non-opioid group of patients started with acetaminophen (paracetamol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. In both groups, medications were added or adjusted based on individual patient response. Over 12 months, the groups did not significantly differ on pain-related function.

You can read more about the study here. And for an opioid update, download this infographic.


The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the American Nurses Association, the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the Publisher, Editors and staff of American Nurse Journal. This has not been peer reviewed.

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