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Ineffective chronic pain treatment can lead to addiction

October 17, 2014
by Julia Brown, Associate Editor
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Chronic pain patients say treatment with prescription painkillers is ineffective and can lead to years of suffering, suicidal thoughts and medication dependence, according to a national survey sponsored by the Center for Public Advocacy at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

Of those surveyed, nearly eight of 10 patients (79.5 percent) being medicated for chronic pain indicate they would be willing to reduce or eliminate their current medications and try an alternative treatment, and nearly half (48.2 percent) say they take three or more pain medications.

Additionally, the survey found that opioid users have greater addiction issues and fears.

Of the chronic pain patients surveyed, more opioid users say they have been treated for drug addiction in the past (68.4 percent) than non-users (48.3 percent). The survey also found that more opioid users indicate that they feel over-medicated (8.4 percent), say they are drug dependent (42.1 percent) and  fear drug dependency (31.9 percent) than non-users (4.7 percent, 29.5 percent and 19.2 percent, respectively).

Dr. Peter Przekop, chronic pain and addiction treatment expert at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, says the current medical system is overly reliant on addictive drugs that are ineffective and can lead to costly and long-term liabilities.

Around $600 billion in medical treatments and lost productivity is incurred every year as a result of the one hundred million Americans suffering from chronic pain.

According to an outcome survey of Better Ford Center chronic pain patients, 73% were pain-free and drug-free after a year after treatment.

Read the full report here.