Nebulized Ketamine May Offer Pain Relief to Emergency Room Patients Interview with:

Jefferson Drapkin BS
Research Associate
Maimonides Medical Center
Department of Emergency Medicine
Brooklyn, New York  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Nebulized administration of ketamine has been studied in the areas of palliative care, therapy for asthma, and acute postoperative management of sore throat. To our knowledge, there is no literature regarding analgesic efficacy and safety of nebulized ketamine’s role in managing acute painful conditions in the emergency department (ED).

As all five patients had a decrease in pain from baseline to 120 min, this case series demonstrates that the inhalation route of ketamine delivery via breath-actuated nebulizer may have utility for managing pain in the ED.

Safety And Efficacy Of The Unique Opioid Buprenorphine For Chronic Pain Relief Interview with:
Joseph V. Pergolizzi, Jr., M.D.

Co-Founder and Chief Operating OfficerNEMA Research Inc.

Joseph V. Pergolizzi, Jr., M.D.
 Co-Founder and Chief Operating OfficerNEMA Research Inc.  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a leading cause of disability.

  • Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are first-line analgesic options or mild CLBP; however, when certain patients with moderate to severe CLBP do not achieve adequate pain relief, opioids are considered as an add-on therapy. Unfortunately, most opioid analgesics have the potential for adverse effects, abuse, and diversion.
  • Buprenorphine buccal film (Belbuca®) is an opioid analgesic classified as a Schedule III controlled substance in the United States and is a partial μ-opioid receptor agonist.
  • Buprenorphine buccal film is a unique analgesic that is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in patients with chronic pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
  • Two pivotal phase 3 clinical trials (Study 307, Clinical Trial ID NCT01675167, and Study 308, Clinical Trial ID NCT01633944) established the efficacy and safety profiles of buprenorphine buccal film.
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All Over-the-Counter Pain Relief Medications Contain Both Risks and Benefits Interview with:

Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H, FACPM, FACC
Sir Richard Doll Professor and Senior Academic Advisor
Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine
Florida Atlantic University  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: About 29 million Americans use over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat pain. Every year in the United States (US),  NSAID use is attributed to  approximately 100,000 hospitalizations and 17,000 deaths. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently strengthened its warning about risks of non-aspirin NSAIDs on heart attacks and strokes. 

While each over the counter and prescription pain reliever  has benefits and risks, deciding which to use is complicated for healthcare providers and their patients.

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Knee Pain Relief by Emoblization of Joint Synovial Tissue Interview with:

Ari J. Isaacson MD
Director of Clinical Research
Clinical Associate Professor, Vascular Interventional Radiology
University of North Carolina  What is the background for this study?

Response: The current treatments for pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee that does not respond to medication or physical therapy  include knee injections and knee replacement. However, some people are too young or unable to undergo knee replacement. Knee injections are often ineffective and need to repeated every few months. There is a need for a treatment option that can reliably relieve knee pain for a year or longer in patients who are not ready or able to undergo knee replacement.

Yoga and Physical Therapy Improved Sleep in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain Interview with:
Eric J. Roseen, DC, MSc

Assistant Professsor, Department of Family Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center

Eric J. Roseen, DC, MSc
Assistant Professsor, Department of Family Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center
Dr. Roseen  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Sleep disturbance and insomnia are common among people with chronic low back pain (cLBP). Previous research showed that 59% of people with cLBP experience poor sleep quality and 53% are diagnosed with insomnia disorder. Medication for both sleep and back pain can have serious side effects, and risk of opioid-related overdose and death increases with use of sleep medications. Given the serious risks of combining pain and sleep medications, we evaluated the use of nonpharmacologic approaches to manage sleep quality in adults with chronic low back pain.

Our randomized controlled trial included 320 adults with chronic low back pain from predominantly low-income racially diverse neighborhoods of Boston. At the beginning of the study, over 90 percent of participants with cLBP reported poor sleep quality. Participants were randomly assigned one of three different therapies for cLBP: physical therapy (PT), weekly yoga, or reading educational materials. Our previous research showed that yoga and PT are similarly effective for lowering pain and improving physical function, and reduced the need for pain medication. In this study, results for sleep improvements were compared over a 12-week intervention period and after 1 year of follow-up.

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Off-Label Gabapentinoid Prescriptions for Cancer Pain Relief Double Interview with:
Alex Fauer, RN, OCN®
Ph.D. Candidate
University of Michigan School of Nursing Interview with: Alex Fauer, RN, OCN® Ph.D. Candidate University of Michigan School of Nursing  What are the main findings?

Response: Our primary finding of the paper is that the age-, sex-, and US region-adjusted percentage of adults who used a gabapentinoid increased from 2.34% to 5.60% from 2005 to 2015. The total number of gabapentinoid prescriptions  filled  among  US  adults diagnosed with  cancer was  approximately  1.19  million in 2005, but increased to 3.52 million in 2015.

We also found that adults aged 18-44 were the highest users of gabapentinoids.

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Pain Relief Drug Tramadol Associated with Hypoglycemia Interview with:
Ruben Abagyan, Ph.D.

Dr. Abagyan

Professor, University of California, San Diego
Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
San Diego Supercomputer Center  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: The background for this study was concern about unknown side effects of tramadol that became a popular treatment for chronic pain. With our informatics approach and access to millions of the FDA reports we were in a position to look for those adverse effects and we found that hyperglycemia (low blood sugar) is one of those concerns. There have been a few small-scale studies and case reports of tramadol use associated with hypoglycemia and hospitalizations related to it. The dramatic increase in tramadol prescription rates, especially in light of tighter control over hydocodone/acetaminophen (went from schedule III to II), warranted a larger scale postmarketing study of FDA FAERS reports.

As we compared the hypoglycemia side effect between different opioids we found that only one other drug, methadone (used to treat drug abuse and addiction), has a comparable association with hypoglycemia. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Patients using tramadol should should be aware of hypoglycemia symptoms such as shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger, irritability, moodiness, anxiety/nervousness, and headache, or, in severe cases, blurred vision, seizures or loss of consiousness.  The same applies to methadone, also known as Dolophine. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: It may be beneficial to perform controlled studies to confirm and understand this association. Our study looked at other drugs with the known pharmacology of tramadol (mu-opioid agonism, serotonin/norepinephrine re-uptake inhibition, and NMDAR antagonism), but did not find an association with hypoglycemia with a specific class.  Would be interesting to learn more about additional/other pharmacology of tramadol and methadone behind the etiology of hypoglycemia. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We think that studies of this nature are beneficial since rare side effects often go unnoticed in clinical trials due to a limited number of participants. Additionally, hypoglycemia effects may often be attributed to other medications and medical conditions, while tramadol or methadone were unlikely to cause suspicion.

Any disclosures?

Non of the authors have any financial or non-financial conflicts of interest to disclose. 


Tigran Makunts, Andrew U, Rabia S. Atayee, Ruben Abagyan. Retrospective analysis reveals significant association of hypoglycemia with tramadol and methadone in contrast to other opioids. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-48955-y

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Palliative Care at Home Linked To Greater Pain Relief, Regardless of Illness Interview with:

Dr Yousuf El Mokhallalati  MD, MPH and PhD candidate
Research Assistant, and PhD candidate
Academic Unit of Palliative Care
Leeds Institute of Health Sciences (LIHS)
University of Leeds
Leeds, UK  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: We examined the factors associated with good pain relief at before death, using data which was drawn from responses to the National Bereavement Survey (VOICES) in England between 2011 and 2015, which asked families or close relatives to reflect on the quality of care provided to a person who had died.

Just 10% of patients who died of a non-cancerous disease received palliative care at home, compared to 63% of cancer patients.

 The study revealed that people who accessed palliative care at home were 2.7 times more likely to have experienced good pain relief compared to those who did not receive palliative care.

The association between good pain relief and palliative care at home occurred regardless of the type of disease that patients had, but access to palliative care was not provided equally.

This research shows that palliative care is associated with significant benefits to people with every kind of progressive disease, but this is not reflected in the spread of people that are being offered palliative care.

The study also suggests that patients who had planned where they wanted to die are nearly twice as likely to experience good pain relief compared to those who had not, showing the value of planning ahead and coordinating the support of healthcare professionals.

Only a quarter of patients were found to have recorded a preferred place of death. Cancer patients were nearly three times more likely to have a preference recorded compared to non-cancer patients (36.6% of cancer patients versus 13.1% of non-cancer patients).

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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain Relief Interview with:
Eve Ling-Khoo,MSc. OT Candidate, BSc. Hons
Clinical Epidemiology, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

"Cognitive Therapy | Fox Valley Institute, Naperville IL (630) 718-0717" by Fox valley Institute is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

  • 20% of adults worldwide suffer from chronic pain which impacts all facets of well-being.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the current gold standard for psychological intervention, but not everyone responds to it.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an alternative with the potential to improve the quality of life of patients with chronic pain.
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Neck and Back Pain More Common in Diabetes Interview with:

Manuela L. Ferreira PhD
Institute of Bone and Joint Research
The Kolling Institute, Sydney Medical School

Paulo H. Ferreira PhD
Musculoskeletal Health Research Group
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: One in four Australians experience back pain or neck pain. Diabetes is also a worldwide prevalent condition, and currently affects over 382 million people. These two diseases often co-exist and have very similar underlying mechanisms, such as obesity and physical inactivity. We were unsure whether having one condition would lead to developing the other, however.

We have found 11 studies published to date, and assessing the relation between back or neck pain and diabetes. The studies included over 165,000 participants published in the USA, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Iran and Spain.

When we pooled the results of these studies together, we observed that people with type 2 diabetes are 35% more likely to also have low back pain (compared to people without diabetes). The risk of having severe back pain symptoms in people with type 2 diabetes is 63% higher and the risk of having severe neck pain is almost 30% higher, than in people with no diabetes.  We could not identify, however, whether type 2 diabetes can lead to back or neck pain, and it is possible that the two conditions are associated via other underlying mechanisms such as obesity and physical inactivity.

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