A new research suggests short-term pain killers are not to be trusted, as they prolong pain rather than reducing it. Taking painkilling opioids just for few days could actually give chronic pains that last for months.
Scientists confirm that opioids would act on the cells in the spinal cord called microglia and increase the pain signals sent from immune cells in the spinal cord.
“We are showing for the first time that even a brief exposure to opioids can have long-term negative effects on pain, says Professor Peter Grace, who led the study.
We found the treatment was contributing to the problem.”
After a study which was conducted on mice, the scientists found out that the use of opioids like morphine actually increased the pain signals traveling from the damaged area to the spinal cord, prompting nerve cells to go into overdrive, which led to prolonged pain.. According to PsyBlog, other common opioids include:
- meperidine (Demerol),
- hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER),
- fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora),
- hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin),
- hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo),
- and methadone (Dolophine, Methadose).
Professor Linda Watkins, a professor at University of Colorado Boulder and a co-author of the study, said:
“The implications for people taking opioids like morphine, oxycodone and methadone are great; since we show the short-term decision to take such opioids can have devastating consequences of making pain worse and longer lasting.”
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The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention reported that deaths related to pain medication hit 28,648 in the US in 2014.