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Patient advocates have been pushing back on legislative and clinical efforts to put the brakes on widespread prescribing of opioid pain medications, on the grounds that the medications are a necessity for some patients in extreme pain. The problem—so far—is that there don’t seem to be any viable alternatives that work as well. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that could be changing, though. Chang, et al compared the effectiveness of ibuprofen 400 mg plus acetaminophen 1,000 mg vs four opioid-containing treatments (oxycodone 5 mg plus acetaminophen 325 mg; hydrocodone 5 mg plus acetaminophen 300 mg; and codeine 30 mg plus acetaminophen 300 mg). They found no statistically significant differences in pain reduction among the treatment groups, measuring pain on an 11-point scale 2 hours after administration of the medication. One key limitation of the study was that it didn’t consider duration of effect. The fact that the study focused on acute pain has particular significance for urgent care centers. (JUCM published an original article on the role urgent care providers might play in addressing the opiate epidemic; it’s available in our archives.)

New Data May Offer Hope for Effective Non-opioid Acute Pain Treatment
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