People who went to the emergency room with acute pain in their shoulders, arms, hips or legs who received two different non-addictive, over-the-counter drugs found relief just as well as – if not better – than three widely prescribed opioids, according to a new study published the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study involved 416 patients who came to the emergency department at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. About a fifth of the patients were diagnosed with a bone fracture. Others suffered injuries like sprained ankles, a dislocated shoulder, or a hurt knee.
As each patient presented to the ER, they were randomly assigned to one of four groups – one that got a combination of ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). A second group received a drug that contained a prescription narcotic such as Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen), Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen) or Tylenol 3 (codeine and acetaminophen).
Researchers asked patients to rate their pain upon arrival and two hours after they received treatment, and found that the patients treated with the Advil/Tylenol combo reported just as much pain relief as the patients taking opioids.
The findings offer a small solution to the nation’s growing opioid epidemic, which has killed more than 183,000 people since 1999, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Previous studies have shown that many patients who are treated with opioids never get off of them, or turn to illegal drugs like heroin if they cannot get opioids on the street.
For example, a study recently released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that of people who were prescribed opioids, eight percent develop “opioid use disorder,” and 15 to 26 percent engage in behaviors that suggest they have become dependent on the drugs.
Source: LA Times