How effective are opiates for fibromyalgia?

80% of fibromyalgia patients complain of being in pain always and the severity of fibromyalgia pain is decribed to be more painful than having multiple sclerosis. Usually, doctors prescribe opiates to fibromyalgia patients out of compassion for their predicament so that their pain can be alleviated.

Opiate can worsen fibromyalgia pain
However, studies have found that while being a potent painkiller for chronic pain, long term usage of the drug could adversely make pain worse. Opiates is found to increase sensitivity to other pain stimuli or lower pain threshold, a condition known as opioid-induced hyperalgesia. It remains unclear whether the hyperalgesia is caused by long term usage or withdrawal from the drug.

Chronic pain patients develop tolerance to opiates
As people tend to develop analgesic tolerance to the drug, patients have to depend on a higher dosage of the painkiller for pain relief after a certain period of time. Studies suggest that the analgesic effectiveness of the same dosage of opiates can be last up to eight weeks, however, little is known on the performance of the same dosage beyond the period of eight weeks.

It is also becoming more evident that some patients require faster dosage escalation and some attempt to get more prescriptions by visiting different clinics. Hence, although short term use of opiates appears effective in relieving pain in fibromyalgia, long term use of the drug can cause more concerning problems such as abuse, addiction and the two abovementioned factors.

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