The use of nonopioid pharmacologic agents for noncancer chronic pain was associated with small to moderate improvements in pain and function in the short term, according to an evidence report published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
The report aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of nonopioid drugs in patients with specific types of chronic pain. “Given the complexity of treating chronic pain and concerns regarding the safety and long term effectiveness of opioids, there is a need for a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and harms of nonopioid pharmacologic treatments,” the authors explained. The benefits and harms of nonopioid agents were evaluated by considering their effect on pain, function, quality of life, and adverse events.
Various electronic databases were accessed to obtain randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating nonopioid agents in chronic pain patients. The review focused on 7 chronic pain conditions, including neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, low back pain, chronic headache, and sickle cell disease. Short term (1 to