2. The lack of non-addictive medications for long-term pain has left the 25 million chronic pain patients with no safe options to treat their pain, which means many who suffer from chronic pain are addicted to dangerous forms of opioids.
“The tolerance that develops from traditional opioids reduces the analgesic effects of the medication, causing the patient to require a higher dose to achieve the same level of pain relief,” said Greg Sullivan, MD, chief science officer and CEO of Bridge Therapeutics.
“Compared with traditional full agonist opioids, buprenorphine affects the receptors in the brain responsible for euphoria to a lesser degree, decreasing the potential for addiction," Sullivan says. "Of all the opioids that have been approved for chronic pain, only buprenorphine has been demonstrated to be safe for long-term use, while not causing tolerance. It’s important to note that buprenorphine is effective in treating certain types of pain, but not inflammatory pain—it must be used in conjunction with an NSAID to effectively treat chronic pain.”
Cathy Starner, PharmD, principal health outcomes researcher at Prime, believes that the Trump administration should look beyond opioid abuse since “Individuals who misuse/abuse opioids are often misusing other drugs such as benzodiazepines and stimulants,” she says. “The landscape of an individual’s drug use needs to be assessed, including doctor and pharmacy shopping, increasing use, use of several different controlled substances, and/or large volume of cash paid claims.”