Do Men and Women Have Different Pain Relief Response to Opioids?

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Roberta Agabio, M.D.
Dpt. Biomedical Sciences
University of Cagliari
Cittadella Universitaria Monserrato
Monserrato (CA) – ITALY

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: Pain is the leading cause for seeking medical care worldwide, and opioids are the most frequently prescribed drugs for pain relief. Differences and similarities between men and women in both effectiveness and side effects to opioids used for pain relief have been described. In addition, individuals may respond differently to these medications for other reasons for example: the intensity of pain experienced, amount and type of administration of opioids (e.g. fixed doses established by physicians or flexible doses decided by patients), mental condition, age, body weight, and use of alcohol, tobacco and/or cannabis.

However, the role of these factors in influencing sex differences and similarities in the response to opioids used for pain control has not been thoroughly investigated.

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Who Teaches Faculty to Educate Medical Residents About Opioids for Chronic Pain?

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Payel Roy, MD
Section of General Internal Medicine
Department of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center
Boston, Massachusetts.

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Given the current opioid crisis, we know how important it is to educate physicians-in-training in safer opioid prescribing.  But we can’t educate them properly if their faculty mentors don’t feel comfortable prescribing opioids themselves.  Our study evaluated a program designed to improve faculty physicians’ comfort in prescribing opioids safely and teaching these practices to trainee physicians.  

We found that faculty development programs can improve their confidence in prescribing opioids safely and teaching their trainees about prescribing, however translating these attitudes into teaching practice remains a challenge.

National Trends in Prescription Opioid Risk Reduction Practices

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Daniel P. Alford, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine
Associate Dean, Continuing Medical Education
Director, Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit
Director, Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) Program
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston Medical Center, Boston MA 02118

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Boston University School of Medicine’s Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) is the longest-running safer opioid prescribing educational program under the FDA’s opioid Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). 

This study analyzed clinicians’, who were registering to attend a SCOPE of Pain training, self-report of performing five opioid prescribing risk-mitigation practices with patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain including:

  1. Use of patient-prescriber agreements,

2) Informing patients about taking opioids exactly as prescribed,

3) Discussing safe opioid storage and disposal,

4) Discussing risks of opioid-associated respiratory depression and overdose, and

5) Monitoring for misuse including urine drug test and/or pill counts, prior to participating in the training.

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Opioid-Induced Constipation

Chronic Pain Patients: Opioid Induced Constipation a Serious Concern After Surgery

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Jonathan Jahr, MD, DABA, FASA

Dr. Jonathan Jahr is an anesthesiologist in Los Angeles, California and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including UCLA Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center-Santa Monica. He received his medical degree from New York Medical College and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Dr-Jonathan-Jahr

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  Why is it important?

Response: I have worked in the hospital setting for the past 25 years and have conducted multiple studies on different opioid and non-opioid strategies for managing both chronic and acute pain. I also co-edited a textbook entitled Essence of Analgesia and Analgesics. My background and the research I’ve done sets the stage for newer pain management protocols that can provide patients with significant pain relief, and improved satisfaction and outcomes due to fewer or avoided opioid related side effects (ORADS) such as opioid-induced constipation (OIC).

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Pain and Substance Use Can Interact in a Vicious Cycle

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Emily L. Zale PhD Department of Psychology Syracuse University Syracuse, New York

Dr. Zale

Emily L. Zale PhD
Department of Psychology
Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: When people think of pain and substance use, it’s common for opioids to come to mind. While the opioid crisis has rightfully garnered considerable attention, our research suggests that non-opioid substances, like nicotine/tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis, are also important to consider in relation to pain. In fact, nicotine/tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis are the most commonly used substances in the US, and research into associations between pain and these non-opioid substances is continuing to increase in popularity.

Research studies usually examine either how substance use affects pain or how pain affects substance use. We looked at results from over 100 studies and put these two different types of research together to understand how pain and substance use affect each other.

On one hand, substance use can be a risk factor for chronic pain and may worsen pain over time. On the other hand, experiencing pain can motivate people to use substances and might make it harder to quit. By putting these two types of studies together, we found that pain and substance use  interact in a vicious cycle that can ultimately worsen and maintain both chronic pain and addiction.

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Study Suggest Opioids Should Not Be First Line Therapy for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Dr. Jason Busse PhD Associate Professor McMaster University

Dr. Busse


Dr. Jason Busse PhD
Associate Professor
McMaster University

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: The United States prescribes more opioids per capita than any other country in the world, and opioids are associated with addiction, overdose, and death. Many individuals living with chronic noncancer pain are managed with opioid therapy; however, we have limited knowledge regarding benefits and harms. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to synthesize the evidence from all RCTs that explored an opioid vs. a non-opioid comparator for patients with chronic noncancer pain, and followed participants for at least 1 month. Continue reading

New Opioid Ligands May Provide Pain Relief Without Addiction Risk

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Prof. Dr. Christoph Stein Direktor Institut für Experimentelle Anaesthesiologie Charité Campus Benjamin Franklin Freie Universität Berlin 

Prof. Stein

Prof. Dr. Christoph Stein
Direktor
Institut für Experimentelle Anaesthesiologie
Charité Campus Benjamin Franklin
Freie Universität Berlin 

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Our group has studied the biology and pharmacology of opioid receptors on peripheral sensory neurons (i.e. outside the central or intestinal nervous system) for over 25 years. We have always aimed at finding mechanisms and opioid receptor ligands that can be developed into drugs inhibiting pain without eliciting typical adverse effects of conventional opioids such as apnoea, addiction, sedation or constipation.

From our previous work we knew that the selective activation of opioid receptors on peripheral sensory neurons can produce powerful pain relief in animals and human patients. Those analgesic effects are particularly strong in pain caused by tissue injury and inflammation (e.g. postoperative pain, arthritis). Together with mathematicians (Dr. Marcus Weber) at the Zuse Institute Berlin, we started out with computer simulations examining the interaction between opioid ligands and receptors in normal (noninflamed) and inflamed environments. These studies indicated a stronger binding of conventional opioid ligands (morphine, fentanyl) to opioid receptors at increased proton concentrations (i.e. low pH, as present in acidotic/inflamed tissue). We also knew that the protonation of a tertiary amine in the ligand is required for opioid receptor activation. Using those in silico simulations, we now designed a new ligand (NFEPP) that is only protonated (and capable of activating opioid receptors) at low pH, but not at normal pH (as in brain and intestinal wall). After synthesis of NFEPP (and similar derivatives) by a contractor we tested them in vitro and in vivo. NFEPP produced opioid receptor activation and analgesia selectively at low pH/tissue inflammation (as present in nerve injury/neuropathy and abdominal inflammation) without eliciting respiratory depression, addiction potential, sedation or constipation. 

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History of Naloxone for heroin, prescription opioid, and illicitly made fentanyl overdoses

Study discusses “current challenges arising in this new era of synthetic opioids, including variable potency of illicit drugs due to erratic adulteration of the drug supply with synthetic opioids, potentially changing efficacy of standard naloxone formulations for overdose rescue, potentially shorter overdose response time, and reports of fentanyl exposure among people who use drugs but are opioid naïve”

http://www.ijdp.org/article/S0955-3959(17)30168-8/fulltext