Ameliorative response to detoxification, psychotherapy, and medical management in patients maintained on opioids for pain (Abstract)

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Ameliorative response to detoxification, psychotherapy, and medical management in patients maintained on opioids for pain

Am J Addict
Oct 2017
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28800186/

Background and objectives: The prevalence of opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH) among patients maintained on opioids for chronic non-malignant pain has not been estimated. As a contribution toward establishing its prevalence, we report a case series of opioid maintained patients whose pain tolerance was measured by the cold pressor test at baseline.

Methods: A case series of 117 patients who had undergone detoxification was reviewed retrospectively. Most patients (n = 108) and selected non-addicted support persons who accompanied them (controls; n = 37) had cold pressor time (CPT) assessments at baseline. Twenty patients had a repeat CPT after 1 month.

Results: When 61 patients completed one month abstinent reported pain was improved (51%), unchanged (46%), or worse (3%). Baseline CPT was 48 sec for patients and 102 sec for controls, suggesting that opioid maintained patients were more pain sensitive than opioid naïve controls. CPT increased for 90% of 1-month completers, suggesting improved pain tolerance. Ameliorative response to detoxification, psychotherapy, and medical management, as defined as the absence of worsening pain with removal of opioids, was 97% in this population.

Conclusion: The difference in CPT between opioid maintained patients and controls, and the response to detoxification, psychotherapy and medical management suggest the possibility that the prevalence of OIH may be high.

Scientific significance: This study adds to the growing evidence that chronic opioid treatment contributes little to the management of chronic pain and in fact appears to frequently make it worse. (Am J Addict 2017;26:738-743).