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Spinal Cord Stimulation Helps Limit Opiod Use in Chronic Pain Patients

Spinal Cord Stimulation Helps Limit Opiod Use in Chronic Pain Patients


Spinal Cord Stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) can help lower or stabilize opioid use among chronic pain patients, according to the results of a new study.

With the large number of opioid prescriptions filled and opioid-related overdose deaths in the United, some SCS patients may be high-dose opioid users by the time of implantation, according to researchers.

Researchers have analyzed commercial and Medicare supplemental insurance data using the MarketScan Databases to analyze opioid use before and after SCS implantation. They found that SCS was effective for patients at different levels of opioid use before implantation. 70% of patients who received SCS reporting lowered or stabilized opioid use.

“Given the epidemic of opioid addiction and abuse, these findings are important and confirm that spinal cord stimulation therapy can offer strong benefits for patients struggling with chronic pain,” Ashwini D. Sharan, MD, lead study author and director of functional and epilepsy surgery, stated in a press release.

The study included information from more than 5,400 patients, from January 2010 to December 2014. The researchers separated the opioid use into three sectors of time: the 12th month before, one month before and the 12th month after implantation. These results the contrasts in use between patients with a successful implant and those requiring removal of the device.


Spinal Cord Stimulation

Research found that patients were prescribed opioids in increasing dosages prior to implantation, with 25% of the patients exceeding 80 mg per day. Median opioid use was similar between both groups one month before implantation, however, patients who had the device removed reported increased opioid use over time while the SCS group continued to decrease. Researchers also suggested that SCS might be more beneficial to patients earlier in the treatment process rather than later.

“Based on these results, we concluded it may be possible to improve outcomes by offering our patients spinal cord stimulation earlier, before opioid dependence and addiction can occur,” said Dr. Sharan in a press release.

If you think you or a family member may be interested in learning more about SCS and other treatment options available, contact us at Louisiana Pain Specialists today.

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