There’s no real evidence that prescription drugs can treat chronic pain in children, but doctors prescribe them anyway

Monday, March 16, 2020 by: Isabelle Z.

(Natural News) It’s easy for adults to chalk up chronic pain to part of getting older, but for children who are otherwise healthy, it can be downright devastating. Unfortunately, when these kids are prescribed drugs to address such pain, they are taking on a host of side effects for something that hasn’t even been proven to help them feel better.

When it comes to chronic pain among children, some of the most common varieties are headaches and migraines, musculoskeletal pain, and recurrent abdominal pain. This pain can really impact their quality of life, with many children who suffer from chronic pain missing school regularly and becoming isolated from their peers. They also tend to have more depression and anxiety than children who don’t have pain, and it can adversely affect their ability to reach their full potential in life in the long term.

While drug therapy is often the first course of treatment for these kids, a recent study shows there is very little evidence supporting this option. In fact, according to the researchers from the University of Bath who led the review, there isn’t any high-quality evidence pointing to the safety or efficacy of the drugs commonly used for chronic pain in children.

The study, which was summarized in the journal PAIN, outlines the serious lack of information we have about the treatment of chronic pain in children and determines that a lot more must be done to obtain more and better evidence.

To get an idea of just how little evidence there is, consider this: More than 300,000 patients have been studied across hundreds of trials for adults with chronic pain. The number of studies that have been carried out in children, however, is just six, with 393 kids involved in total. That’s hardly enough to draw a reliable conclusion about children in general.

The researchers pointed out that it’s not very reliable to simply apply the conclusions of studies carried out in adults to children as both their biology and metabolism function differently than those of adults.

Study co-author Dr. Emma Fisher said: “Children are not just small adults, so we cannot simply extrapolate evidence acquired from adults and use it in children.”

She added that the evidence we currently have available to us is not sufficient to say with any certainty whether the drugs that are used are the right approach. However, she said that with the current rate of reporting on clinical trials of just 1 every 3.5 years, it would take more than a thousand years to accumulate an acceptable base of evidence to make informed decisions. She called for urgent attention and funding to improve the knowledge base in this regard.

One part of the problem is that there are ethical barriers to carrying out randomized control clinical trials on children, and there are also some practical barriers as well.

Alternative treatments for children with chronic pain

Why aren’t more children being given non-drug treatments to address chronic pain? There have already been studies showing that psychological therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can have some success in reducing the pain and disability in children and adolescents, as can acupuncture. Other approaches could also prove useful, such as meditation yoga, exercise, massage and music therapy.

With one out of every five children reporting experiencing chronic pain, it’s clear that a better solution is needed or we could be setting up children for a lifetime of dependence on drugs that offer very little in the way of relief in exchange for substantial risks. (Click to Source)

 Sources for this article include:

NewsWise.com

ScienceDaily.com

 

Holman Bible

 

 

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Prescription painkillers found to worsen chronic pain, generating more demand for the same drugs

Sunday, February 17, 2019 by: 

hand-reach-drugs-pink-opioids-pills

(Natural News) The opioid epidemic that is currently plaguing the United States is no longer a secret; millions of citizens across the nation are struggling with an addiction to the prescription painkillers. One of the primary defenses for these often-harmful drugs is that so many people take them to relieve unyielding and insufferable pain.

But what if these drugs aren’t actually helping those people either? Furthermore, what if these drugs actually make pain worse?

A research team from the University of Colorado Boulder discovered just that; opioid painkillers can actually exacerbate chronic pain, and may also prolong the condition that they are supposed to be healing. Perhaps this is why the use of prescription pain relievers like oxycodone and hydrocodone have quadrupled since 1999 — in less than 20 years.

The dangers of opioids simply cannot be overstated. Estimates suggest that over 2 million Americans alone suffer from an opioid addiction, and another half a million people struggle with heroin addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, roughly 80 percent of heroin users report that their addiction began with opioid pain relievers. Thousands of people receive urgent medical care for accidental or intentional misuse of these dangerous drugs. On top of that, opioids contribute to up to 60 deaths per day, according to some statistics. (Related: Big Pharma spent $880 million fighting against state opioid restrictions.)

Opioids are not worth the risk

Many people take these drugs daily in an effort to combat chronic pain, but the study from Colorado University Boulder suggests that this could indeed be more detrimental than anything else. In fact, the research team even surmised that “prolonged pain is an unrealized and clinically concerning consequence of the abundant use of opioids in chronic pain.”

The study, which was published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that in rats, opioids prolonged and increased chronic pain.

The research revealed that just five days of treatment with morphine led to chronic pain that persisted for several months. What the team found was that the drug treatment provoked pain signals from the rats’ microglia — which are a type of immune cell that is specific to the central nervous system.

One interesting aspect of the microglia is their ability to respond to changes in sensory activity and potentially influence neuronal activity acutely and long-term — even in mature brains. A team of researchers from the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institute of Health, noted in their 2011 paper that, “Microglia seem to be particularly involved in monitoring the integrity of synaptic function.”

Given that these cells seem to be especially intertwined with the central nervous system, it would be particularly concerning to learn that opioids trigger microglia into action. The team from the University of Colorado Boulder also noted that the microglia play an “important role” when it comes to pain management.

In their abstract, the researchers commented, “These data also provide strong support for the recent ‘two-hit hypothesis’ of microglial priming, leading to exaggerated reactivity after the second challenge, documented here in the context of nerve injury followed by morphine. This study predicts that prolonged pain is an unrealized and clinically concerning consequence of the abundant use of opioids in chronic pain.”

Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia: a known side-effect

The potential for opioids to actually worsen pain has been a known effect of the drugs for quite some time now. The condition even has a name: opioid induced hyperalgesia, or OIH for short. Some of the symptoms of OIH include an expanding region of pain, decreased pain threshold, increased sensitivity to painful and non-painful stimuli, and worsening pain despite the ingestion of an increasing number of opioids.

Many studies have described this phenomenon, with research on this apparent side effect of opioid administration dating back to the 1970s. And yet, in spite of this knowledge, somehow these drugs have been pushed on the public en masse.

See PrescriptionWarning.com for more news coverage of the dangers of prescription medication. (Click to Source)

Sources include:

NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

HHS.gov

WakingTimes.com

PNAS.org

Anesthesiology.Pubs.ASAHQ.org

 
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Exposing the truth about painkillers: The warnings and solutions

woman-reach-drugs-prescription-pills-sick-bed

(Natural News) More than 25 million American adults – roughly 11.2 percent of the population – report having chronic pain, according to the National Institutes of Health. This epidemic has triggered an unprecedented national spike in the use (and abuse) of painkillers – including over-the-counter drugs and prescription opioid medications.

Tragically, 44 people die in the United States every day as a result of prescription opioid overdose – while non-narcotic medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen carry risks of their own, including damage to the stomach and liver. But, according to Charles Gant, MD, PhD, the solution to the problem of chronic pain and painkiller use could lie within our own bodies.

Neurotransmitters hold the key to relief from chronic pain and addiction

According to Dr. Gant, drugs simply mimic the actions and effects of neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers in the brain. But depletion and deficiency of these neurotransmitters can cause increased awareness of pain, and trigger cravings and addictive behavior. The key to relief, says Dr. Gant, is restoring proper biochemical balance in the brain – which can break the cycle of addiction.

For instance, proper levels of serotonin in the brain can ensure stable mood and restful sleep. The neurotransmitter GABA also has a calming effect – which is mimicked by Valium and other benzodiazepines.

Endorphins and enkephalins, which are mimicked by opiate drugs such as oxycodone, help with relief of pain and create a sense of well-being.

According to Dr. Gant, there is even a “natural nicotine” – acetylcholine – in the body, as well as a form of “natural marijuana,” the endocannabinoid system.

When we take the actual drugs that mimic the neurotransmitters, says Dr. Gant, the brain no longer feels impelled to create them. As a result, it produces less and less of them. “Physical substances cause physical changes in the brain,” Dr. Gant reports. (Click to Site)