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Patients who used topical creams to treat pain reduced their opioid use and other concurrent medications over time, but more testing needs to be done to confirm the efficacy and safety of these creams in the treatment of chronic pain, according to a recent study.
Opioid use and other concurrent medications decreased among opioid-experienced chronic pain patients after three and six months of treatment with topical analgesics, according to “Reduction of Opioid Use and Improvement in Chronic Pain in Opioid-Experienced Patients after Topical Analgesic Treatment: An Exploratory Analysis,” published in the medical journal Postgraduate Medicine in January.
After treatment with topical analgesics, 49% of patients in the three-month group and 56% of patients in the six-month group reported they had completely discontinued use of opioids, according to the analysis. In addition, 31% of patients at the three-month assessment and 30% at the six-month assessment reported they were no longer taking any pain medication. Other concurrent medications decreased by 65% after three months and 74% after six months.
“The topical analgesics were reported to be effective and safe for the treatment of chronic pain, with randomized controlled trials needed to confirm these findings,” an abstract of the study stated.
Topical creams are becoming part of the mix of pain treatment options as doctors look for alternatives to addictive opioids.