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Dr Jeff White on Nonopioid Alternatives for Pain Management

There are a number of nonopioid options, as well as nondrug options, for pain management, explained Jeff White, PharmD, MS, staff vice president, Anthem.


There are a number of nonopioid options, as well as nondrug options, for pain management, explained Jeff White, PharmD, MS, staff vice president, Anthem.

Transcript

What are some available nonopioid options to pain management?

There are a number of nonopioid options to pain management. It’s important to start with the evidence to understand the true clinical benefits and harms of therapy, and that will guide the alternatives. There’s a substantial amount of evidence to support nonopioid therapies. For example, there are the NSAIDS [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs], such as Motrin or Naprosyn. There are also antidepressants, there are also anticonvulsants such as gabapentin, and there’s other topical therapies, and many others to help treat pain.

It’s important to guide the therapy towards the type of pain for which there’s evidence to support use for that particular condition. There’s also a number of nondrug-related options to address and manage pain. For example, there’s physical therapy, there’s exercise and stretching, acupuncture, yoga, and a number of other evidence-based nondrug alternatives.

Are there any misconceptions about these alternatives?

A common misconception is that pain needs to be treated with an opioid when there’s limited evidence on the long-term safety and efficacy of opioid therapy. Whereas the nonopioid alternatives, there’s strong evidence to support long-term safety and efficacy of those drugs.

 
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