Are opioid analgesics taken for more than 90 days effective for patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP)?

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Abstract

Bottom line

Opioid analgesics reduce pain more than placebo in patients with CLBP; however, few trials used opioids for more than 90 days and adverse events were more common with opioids (SOR: B, meta-analysis of RCTs at risk of bias). Opioids do not reduce pain more than nonopioid analgesics in patients with CLBP or chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) (SOR: B, metaanalyses of RCTs at risk of bias). Patients treated with opioids for CLBP and CNCP experience more non-life-threatening adverse events and discontinue therapy due to adverse events more frequently than patients treated with nonopioid analgesics (SOR: B, meta-analyses of RCTs at risk of bias).

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