New study suggests opioids are overrated for common back, neck pain

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Medical Malpractice |

Opioids continue to contribute to the surge in drug overdose-related deaths annually in the U.S. But the results of a new study could hopefully lead to the reduction of opioids in pain medication and solve a part of the addiction crisis.

A study conducted by the Sydney Pharmacy School found that among 340 patients suffering from common low back or neck pains, there was no difference in the severity of pain after six weeks between those who took opioid medication and those who received a placebo. Previous research had focused on opioids’ effectiveness in chronic pain, but this new study focused on “garden-variety” back pains that lasted shorter periods.

American medical experts reacting to the study said the results would cast doubts on many major hospitals’ guidelines for treating back pain. Some are also optimistic that while the study’s findings might not completely rewrite guidelines on treating back pain, it would open the door to more studies on whether prescribing opioids for other conditions would be appropriate.

The relevance of the study

How much has America’s opioid crisis cost the country? An analysis by a U.S. Congress committee found that the epidemic cost the national economy almost $1.5 trillion in 2020 alone. The CDC also estimated that from 1999 to 2020, over 564,000 people died from overdoses involving opioids.

But how has the addiction epidemic affected Illinois?

According to the state Department of Public Health, Illinois had 3,717 drug overdose deaths in 2021. That’s equivalent to more than 10 deaths each day for a whole year. Opioid overdose was also the leading cause of accidental death for Illinois residents in the 18 to 49 age range that year.

Until hospitals carefully consider their approach to treating back pains with opioids, Americans will continue to be at risk of addiction and overdose deaths.

If you developed an opioid addiction from a doctor’s prescription, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the medical professional. However, you’ll have to prove that the doctor failed to exercise reasonable care in prescribing the drug. Did the doctor notice your developing addiction? Did they consider your history with other addictive substances before prescribing opioids? Did they suggest other medications first before going with opioids? These details are important because without proof, you will lose your claim.

Consider seeking legal counsel before filing a lawsuit. A lawyer may be able to determine whether you have a solid case for medical malpractice.