Why Science Matters


The Opioid Crisis: Why Science Matters

For years, and now decades, physicians and dentists have been handing out opioids for pain relief.  Bombarded by pharmaceutical marketing, patients and providers believed completely that opioids were the only solution for severe pain.

But no one actually studied whether that was true.

Not until a study published this past March in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).   That study compared veterans with moderate to severe chronic pain (not acute pain) and randomly assigned them to opioids or nonopioids (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug).  And guess what?   There was no difference.   The veterans taking the alternative drugs did just as well, and actually reported slightly less pain with fewer side effects.

This is why science matters. Don’t feel bashful about inquiring to your doctor or dentist about the scientific studies that support the drug being prescribed.  Start with the drug that has the least side effects.   Also remember the role your mind plays in drug effectiveness.  If you doctor hands you a high dose Motrin and tells you it will work, and you believe him/her, then chances are excellent, it will help your pain.  

Be your own best advocate.  Change will only occur when we demand rigorous scientific studies.   Science matters.

AddictionMark Levine