According to a new study published in the Journal of American Medicine, over-the-counter remedies such as Motrin or Tylenol may be as effective as stronger prescription opioids at easing severe pain.
Opioid dependence – and eventually, addiction – often begins with a short-term pain pill prescription. 1 out of 3 emergency room patients are given an opioid, and 1 out of 5 are sent home with a prescription for opioid painkillers.
But what if there was a different way to ease pain without risk of dependency, abuse, addiction, and overdose?
Challenging Conventional Wisdom about Pain Relief
The study involved over 400 adults treated at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Injuries included on and leg sprains and even fractures. Each patient evaluated was given acetaminophen (Tylenol), and one of the following medications:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin)
Patients were not informed which combination of medications they were given.
Here’s the thing – patients were asked to self-evaluate their pain levels before they were given the medications and again, 2 hours later. On average, the scores dropped from a 9 on a 10-point scale to a 5 – regardless of the combination they were given.
Because they affect different pain receptors in the body, using a combination of acetaminophen, ibuprofen was especially effective at relieving pain, according to Dr. Andrew Chang, who led the study.
A New Strategy against the Opioid Epidemic?
If these results can be replicated in larger clinical studies, it just may change the way doctors address pain relief, and, by extension, profound impact the ongoing opioid epidemic.
In an editorial accompanying study, Dr. Demetrios Kyriacou wrote, “Preventing new patients from becoming addicted to opioids may have a greater effect on the opioid epidemic than providing sustained treatment to patients already addicted.” Dr. Kyriacou specializes in Emergency Medicine at Northwestern University.
Right now, there are approximately 2.6 MILLION Americans who are addicted to opioids such as prescription painkillers or heroin. It is estimated that 43,000 people in this country died in 2016 from overdoses involving opioids.
If a legitimate pain prescription has left you dependent on your opioid medications, Lasting Recovery – one of the most-trusted outpatient drug rehabs in Southern California – can help.