Should Opioids Be Used In Osteoarthritis?

At the October American College of Rheumatology meeting in Chicago, research from around the world was shared.  A featured study regarding osteoarthritis assessed 240 patients, half using acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory medications and the other half using opioid medications (codeine, morphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl etc.) They compared the level of general pain intensity and pain related to movement for the two groups. The intensity of pain was lessened in the group NOT using opioids. Pain with movement was no different between the two groups. This information emphasizes the need to avoid opioid use in osteoarthritis.

Weight loss and continued movement are the main focus of treatment. Even while sitting, keeping moving is important. Pushing through some discomfort to maintain movement and lubrication of joints is vital. Water exercise programs are also very beneficial for those with limited mobility. An example of these programs is the GLA:D physiotherapy program, which was first established in Denmark and is now offered at many centres in Canada. It is a well researched program showing improvement in osteoarthritic joints.

Stay tuned for more information on osteoarthritis…

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