Study Concludes Nontramadol Opioids Should Not be Routinely Used for Osteoarthritis

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A study in the October 7 issue of the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews reported that even when the pain is severe. nontramadol Opioids should not routinely be used for osteoarthritis. The researchers compared oral and transdermal opioids with placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee to determine its effect on pain, function, and safety. They reviewed studies from Central Medline, EMBASE, and CINAHL and conference proceedings and contacted authors for additional data when needed.
Of the 10 trials included that comprised 2268 subjects, 4 trials had studied oral oxycodone, 3 studied oral codeine, 1 studied transdermal fentanyl, 1 studied oral morphine, and 2 studied oral oxomorphone. Compared with the control subjects (placebo) those receiving opioids had better pain relief, and improved function. Efficacy did not vary much based upon opioid type, analgesic potency, daily dose, duration of treatment or of follow up, methodological quality of study, or type of funding.
Those in the study group were more likely than the control group to have adverse reactions. The researchers concluded that the small to moderate benefits of the Nontramadol Opioids were outweighed by large increases in the risks of adverse reactions and should not be routinely used even if the osteoarthritis pain is severe.

Limitations of the study were noted as funding for most of the studies had been provided by pharmacetical companies.

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