Long-term Opioid Therapy Not Effective for Most Women

A new study shows that women — especially younger women — are less likely than men to find relief from pain with long-term opioid use.

The new study, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, found that only one in five women reported low levels of pain and high levels of function with chronic opioid therapy.

In the study, researchers led by Linda LeResche, Sc.D., of the Department of Oral Medicine at the University of Washington School of Dentistry in Seattle, evaluated pain status among chronic opioid therapy users.

The researchers report that young and middle-aged women are at particularly high risk for unfavorable global pain status.

Additionally, young and middle-aged women face “unique risks” from opioid use, such as reduced fertility and potential effects of opioids used during pregnancy on the developing fetus, the researchers reported.

“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,” noted Susan G. Kornstein, M.D., editor-in-chief of the Journal of Women’s Health, executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health in Richmond, Virginia, and president of the Academy of Women’s Health.

Source: Journal of Women’s Health