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New treatment ‘can help people stop taking opioid painkillers for chronic pain’

A new treatment could help people to stop taking addictive opioid painkillers for chronic pain, research suggests.

Data suggests there are one million people at risk from longer-term continuous opioid prescriptions, and more than 50,000 have been taking these for six months or more.

While recent NHS initiatives have managed to reduce opioid prescribing by 8%, saving an estimated 350 lives, the new research has found evidence that could help many more people stop their opioid painkiller use.

A team of researchers and doctors has developed and successfully trialled a programme designed to guide people in coming off prescription painkillers, tapering their opioid intake and learning how to manage their pain using alternative techniques with a course which combines one-to-one and group support.

According to the findings, after one year, one in five people were able to stop taking opioids without their pain increasing.

The scientists suggest the new treatment is an alternative to opioid use and has potential to give patients a better quality of life.

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Source: The Independent, 23 May 2023


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