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Are opioids effective for the long-term treatment of chronic non-cancer pain?

POlicy makers and the media repeatedly state that opioids are not effective long term and are not recommended for the treatment of chronic pain. Unfortunately the ‘science’ this is based on is very flimsy. In fact back in 2016 when the CDC released their opioid prescribing guidelines and the war on chronic non-cancer pain patients began, there was very little science at all.

Doctors and policymakers stated “there is no evidence that opioids are effective for pain long term”. This was true back then, but the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

The fact that there was no evidence for the use of opioids was twisted to imply that opioids were not effective long term. A deliberate ploy to teach physicians and the general public that opioids are not effective long term. A lie.

The other concern is tolerance and the idea that a person will require ever-increasing doses to get the same pain-relieving effect. While tolerance is an issue for some, most people who were force-tapered off their pain reliving medications had been on stable doses for years, or even decades. It’s simply not true that tolerance is a given and always happens.

Another concern is the idea that opioids make pain worse when taken long-term. this is Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia, and most reputable pain res3earchers and doctors do not believe it exists as a clinical entity. We cover this here – opioid-induced hyperalgesia.

Now, in 2022, there are multiple, large studies that show that opioids are effective for chronic pain long-term.