Rat study suggests further drawback to opioids
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Painkillers in the opium family may actually make pain last longer. Morphine treatment after a nerve injury doubled the duration of pain in rats, scientists report the week of May 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The results raise the troubling prospect that in addition to having unpleasant side effects and addictive potential, opioids such as OxyContin and Vicodin could actually extend some types of pain. If a similar effect is found in people, “it suggests that the treatment is actually contributing to the problem,” says study coauthor Peter Grace, a neuroscientist at the University of Colorado Boulder.