A study in the Journal of Pain found acceptance and commitment therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that uses the psychological flexibility model, led to improvements in daily functioning for patients. "Greater psychological flexibility is associated with less pain-related anxiety and avoidance, less depression, less physical and psycho-social disability, and other measures of patient function," said King's College London researcher Lance McCracken.
Nektar Therapeutics said a study found its oral opioid drug candidate NKTR-181 had significantly less abuse potential than oxycodone based on reports of trial participants. NKTR-181, which has been fast-tracked by the FDA, is designed to relieve pain without producing high levels of euphoria.
A systematic review of 67 studies that analyzed eight intervention categories for chronic pain found that discontinuation or dose reduction of long-term opioid therapy may lead to improvements in pain severity, quality of life and function. However, researchers noted in Annals of Internal Medicine that the quality of evidence they reviewed was good in three studies, fair in 13 studies and poor in the remaining studies.
A study in the Journal of Anesthesia found that lateral abdominal transversus abdominis plane and iliohypogastric/ilioinguinal nerve blocks, administered under ultrasound guidance, reduced immediate and long-term pain as well as the need for analgesics after inguinal hernia repair better than subarachnoid block. "Truncal and peripheral nerve blocks ameliorate postoperative pain and reduce deleterious side effects resulting from use of opioid analgesics," said study leader Onur Okur.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has released a sweeping report urging the FDA to evaluate the safety and efficacy of all opioid painkillers, including their real-world effects on families, crime and the demand for heroin. The report outlines a plan for addressing overdose deaths resulting from opioid and heroin use, and in response to the findings, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the opioid epidemic is his "highest immediate priority."
The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing in August will begin restricting some opioid prescriptions in its Medicaid program to reduce the likelihood of abuse. In October, the state also will reduce the daily cap on Morphine Milligram Equivalents for opioid medications.