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JLeslie's avatar

In the past were there studies demonstrating opioids aren’t addictive if someone was in pain?

Asked by JLeslie (65069points) July 25th, 2021 from iPhone

I’m trying to understand why any doctor thought opioids wouldn’t be addictive. Were the pharmaceutical companies actually presenting studies backing up what they were saying?

I remember years ago a push for medical doctors to be more aware of the pain a patient was experiencing, and I remember that ridiculous mantra that pain medication isn’t addictive if the patient is in pain. I never believed that, it baffles me why doctors did.

Side note: I am in favor of prescribing these drugs when needed.

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12 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

Read the lawsuits. They told doctors who told patients they were not addictive. Just too much money at stake to be honest.
In my opinion they should pay for everyones rehab for opiods.

rebbel's avatar

Obviously the doctors were lied to, and the doctors (some, I’d say) who understood they were lied to pretended they’d believe it.
Doctors get treated to all kinds of nice business gifts (in those days).
I strongly think that heads of medicine manufacturers are ruthless (some).

janbb's avatar

My mother believed that about pain meds; I don’t know that it was based on anything. I do believe that not everyone who takes them for pain gets addicted, I was percocet for quite a while with my broken ankle and did not get addicted. However, a large number of people do get addicted. Not sure what studies were done if any.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I was given T3’s, 15 years ago, for my broken ribs, and never got addicted. They barely worked, and I would liked to have had access to stronger stuff.

janbb's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 Yes, I do think there needs to be some room for people to get strong pain meds when needed. They can be a god-send.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Here’s one lawsuit, they pleaded guilty. I could probably find you study links, if needed.

filmfann's avatar

They are absolutely addictive.
Following my open heart surgery, I was taking them for the pain. Quitting was horrible, but necessary. I was concerned about liver damage.
I still use them occasionally for back pain, but I am careful with the dosage and duration.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m talking about the DOCTORS blindly trusting and not questioning. As patients we are trusting our doctors to be better educated and smarter than us regarding medical science. Doctors want respect for their many years of education and experience, and I do value their years of study and experience and their ability to memorize has been shown to be on average better than the average person. That’s all incredibly valuable, but they are also not trained to question. Some of them do, but many don’t.

I just wondered if there were manipulated or poorly done studies presented to doctors, or if doctors just accepted what they were told at face value without question even though it goes against logic and many people were obviously getting addicted.

I do feel pharma is culpable too, and the FDA probably also. The doctor is the last defense for protecting us. They see the actual patient.

I am all for giving patients pain medication and very addictive drugs like Xanax when needed. I fear a backlash where people who really should be given these medications won’t be able to get them and that the next 5 or 10 years we could see under treatment. I hope that doesn’t happen.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie I worry about under treatment too.

kneesox's avatar

There’s an episode of John Oliver’s show about opioids, with clips from ads claiming they’re safe. He treats them with all the outrage and indignation they deserve. It’s probably a year old but still findable on YouTube.

The subject of withholding drugs from people who really need them on account of the overtreatment backlash was covered in one of the news magazines sometime in maybe the last year. Very disturbing.

Big EVERYTHING seems to be counter to the interests of ordinary people trying to live some kind of normal life.

flutherother's avatar

That’s a good question. It seems doctors were careful when prescribing opioids until the 1980’s because of possible dependency issues. During the 1980’s a report came out that suggested opioids were only addictive when used recreationally. Too much weight seemed to be given to this study, which involved only 38 people.

It was in the mid 1990’s that opioid prescriptions took off. The drug companies promoted their opioid products heavily, emphasising safety and efficacy. It seems strange that there didn’t appear to be any further studies into opioid dependency at this time.

Doctors were under pressure from drug companies on the one hand and from their patients on the other to prescribe opioids and whatever professional qualms they may have had the easy option was to write a prescription which, at the time, kept everyone happy.

There is a very good article on this subject published in Nature in 2019. It’s worth reading.

JLeslie's avatar

@flutherother Thank you for your answer and the link. The whole thing is mind boggling to me. This sort of thing is why I have so much anxiety regarding medical care.

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