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Study: Topical analgesics may be one answer to the opioid crisis


AUSTIN, Texas — Clarity Science, a division of Safe Harbor Compliance and Clinical Services, on Wednesday reported the results of the Institutional Review Board-approved Optimizing Patient Experience and Response to Topical Analgesics (OPERA) Study which evaluated patients with chronic pain who were treated with topical analgesics.

Overall results, published in the Journal of Pain Research, suggest that topical treatments may provide an effective and safer treatment alternative to opioids and prescription NSAIDs for the management of chronic pain.

"The results of this study show that topical analgesics were associated with reductions of up to 60% in the use of concurrent pain medications, including oral opioid analgesics," stated Jeffrey Gudin, lead investigator of the study and director Pain and Palliative Care at Englewood Hospital in New Jersey. "Topical agents have the potential to provide analgesic effects without the risk of abuse, misuse and addiction or systemic adverse events associated with oral analgesics. Also, they lower the risk of systemic AEs and drug-drug interactions, have limited systemic absorption, offer simple-dose determination, provide direct access to the target site and are easy for patients to apply."

Results of the study show that topical treatments are effective and safe for the relief of moderately severe chronic pain associated with arthritis, neuropathic conditions and musculoskeletal disorders while not carrying the same risks of abuse, misuse, addiction or adverse effects associated with some oral treatments.  As many as 54% of treated patients in the 3-month group and 60% of treated patients in the 6-month group de-escalated the use of concurrent pain medications compared to 4% and 6% in the untreated groups.

The untreated groups saw an increase in medication usage in 52% of cases (compared to only 10% for the treated group.)

Treated patients reported a preference for topical treatments both for their convenience and ease of use and 99.5% of patients reported no side effects while using the topical treatments.


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