In a recent clinical trial conducted at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, emergency room patients with acute pain were given four different combination analgesics-ibuprofen with acetaminophen, oxycodone and acetaminophen, hydrocodone and acetaminophen and codeine and acetaminophen-to relieve their symptoms. The results? There was no statistically significant difference between the opioid-free analgesic and the other three which included one or more opioid. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol and Motrin were just as effective in reducing the patients' severe pain as compared with the opioid painkillers.
While the study only followed patients on a short term basis while they were in the emergency room, the findings challenge current ER practices of administering the potentially addictive opioid painkillers to patients suffering from broken bones/sprains. It is well known that long-term opioid use often begins with a prescription painkiller. While intended for short-term use, the highly addictive nature of opioids can lead many toward addiction.
As the opioid epidemic rages on, helping to avoid the initial dependence upon these substances may have an even greater effect than providing continuing treatment to those already addicted.
To read more about the study, click here.