Targeting Specific Inflammatory Cells May Offer Enhanced Pain Relief

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. Halina Machelska
Department of Experimental Anesthesiology
Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Prof. Dr. Halina Machelska
Department of Experimental Anesthesiology
Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Berlin, Germany

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

Response: Pathological pain such as pain resulting from nerve injury is often accompanied by inflammation. This is manifested by accumulation of immune cells, including macrophages, in the damaged tissue. Current research mostly emphasizes the role of these cells in the enhancement of pain. One of the suggested strategies in the basic research is to deplete immune cells from the affected tissue. However, several previous preclinical studies, including our own, have shown that this approach did not sufficiently decrease pain. We think that one of the reasons is that not all immune cells invading damaged tissue are detrimental and in fact, some are needed there to counteract pain.

Macrophages are very heterogeneous and they comprise at least two subpopulations, pro-inflammatory M1 and anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages. Our idea in this study was to promote the analgesic properties of macrophages. We took advantage of the cytokine interleukin-4 (IL-4) to switch macrophages from the M1 to the M2 state.

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Older Adults More Likely to Misuse Opioids for Pain Relief

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Ty S. Schepis, PhD
Department of Psychology
Texas State University
San Marcos, TX

Ty S. Schepis, PhD
 Department of Psychology
 Texas State University
 San Marcos, TX
Dr. Schepis

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

Response: Prescription opioid misuse motives have been studied in adolescents, young adults, and across the population. One study across the population suggested that older adults differed from younger adults, but this was not fully clear.

We wanted to examine motives across age groups and to investigate the correlates of opioid motive groups in older adults (50 and older). We found that motives changed with aging, with increasing endorsement of pain relief motives, particularly pain relief without other motives.

In contrast, more recreational opioid misuse motives (e.g., to experiment, to get high) peaked in adolescents or young adults. Finally, non-pain relief motives in older adults (50 and older) were associated with higher rates of any past year substance use disorder and past year suicidal ideation.

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What Drugs Are Prescribed for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Relief?

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Debbie Feldman
,, Ph.D.
Professeure titulaire/Full Professor
Faculté de médecine/Faculty of Medicine
École de réadaptation/School of Rehabilitation
Université de Montréal

Debbie Feldman,, Ph.D.
 Professeure titulaire/Full Professor
 Faculté de médecine/Faculty of Medicine
 École de réadaptation/School of Rehabilitation
 Université de Montréal
Dr. Feldman

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

Response: The goal was to explore clinical management of new cases of musculoskeletal conditions associated with chronic pain, at the population level. Few studies to date have addressed treatment at the population level and none explored initial management specifically. Furthermore, not much is known regarding patient and provider characteristics that are potentially associated with different treatment options (except for some information regarding prescription of opioids). Main findings are in the answer below.

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Adults 50+ More Likely to Misuse Opioids for Pain Relief

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Ty S. Schepis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Texas State University

 Ty S. Schepis, Ph.D.
 Associate Professor
 Department of Psychology
 Texas State University

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

Response: We were interested in examining the underlying reasons for prescription opioid misuse both across the population and in older adults specifically. Given that pain conditions and physical health limitations increase with aging, we wondered if different age groups would display different patterns of motives. Indeed, they did. Adults 50 and older were particularly likely to misuse opioid medication only for pain relief reasons (over 80%); in contrast, roughly 65% of young adults (18-25 years) endorsed only non-pain relief motives for misuse.

For older adults, opioid misuse involving any non-pain relief motives was associated with a greater rate of also having another substance use disorder and past-year suicidal thoughts.

Opioids Commonly Prescribed for Pain Relief from Osteoarthritis

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Dr. Jonas Bloch Thorlund  MSc, PhD
Professor of Musculoskeletal Health
Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics &
Research Unit for General Practice (Dept. of Public Health) 
Dr. Thorlund

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

Response: Opioids are commonly prescribed to patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA). But for newly diagnosed patients’ clinical guidelines recommend exercise therapy, patient education and weight loss (if needed) as first line treatment. These treatments can be supplemented or replaced with biomechanical interventions (insoles, wedges, cane use, etc.), and paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) if needed. Generally, opioids are should only be used when other treatment options are exhausted, ineffective or contraindicated. Thus, treatment with opioids shortly after OA diagnosis is considered inappropriate according to guidelines.

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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