Opioid therapy for chronic pain only effective in 20 percent of women

Opioid therapy for chronic pain only affective in 20 percent of womenWomen are more likely to experience chronic pain, so a popular treatment is opioid therapy. New research suggests that this long-term use of opioid therapy for chronic pain is only effective in roughly 20 percent of women. Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of long-term opioid therapy in women. They uncovered that young and middle-aged women at are the highest risk for pain as well as complications associated with opioid use, including fertility complications and opioid side effects to the fetus during pregnancy.

Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Women’s Health, Susan G. Kornstein, M.D., said, “Given the high rates of chronic opioid use in women along with evidence of poor relief from pain and concerning risks, particularly in reproductive-aged women, we need more effective and safer options for managing pain in this population.”


The researchers conducted phone interviews and collected data from 2,163 individuals using chronic opioid therapy (COT). Activity limitation, pain-related interference, pain impact and average/usual pain were all analyzed.

Their findings suggest that women under the age of 65 fared much worse than men on every indicator. In the age category of 65 to 80, both men and women began to have similar results.

The research shows that COT may not be the best form of treatment for women under the age of 65 battling chronic pain.

The findings were published in the Journal of Women’s Health.


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.