Study Shows Opioids Don’t Relieve Joint Pain in Older Patients, and Can Cause Dry Mouth

A study published in the Journal of Pain and conducted at the University of Sydney showed that opioids provide little musculoskeletal pain relief in older patients, and instead can increase the risk of serious side effects including dry mouth.

The researchers in the wide-ranging study reviewed data on the safety and efficacy of opioids from 24 international clinical trials, comparing the effects of opioids to patients who received only a placebo, according to a story in SBS News, an Australian news service. Opioids are regularly prescribed to older patients with knee, hip or lower back pain, but, according to the study researchers, they provide very little benefit for reducing pain or improving the joint function.

Furthermore, the study showed that the patients were “three times more likely” to have some kind of adverse event from the opioid treatments, including constipation, drowsiness, dizziness, headache and nausea, along with dry mouth, according to the report.

Study author Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira, senior researcher at the Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Kolling Institute, said the impacts of the opioid treatments “can be very significant, leading to more serious events such as falls and confusion.”

For the complete SBS news story, click on the following link: