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Study: Opioids May Not Help Those With Chronic Pain

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Study: Opioids May Not Help Those With Chronic Pain
About 50 million U.S. adults have chronic pain, and it's one of the most common reasons they seek medical care.
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A new study says for those who suffer chronic pain, opioids may not actually be very helpful.

On average, opioids may offer only slight improvements over a placebo for adults with chronic, non-cancer pain, according to a study published the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers reviewed nearly 100 randomized trials published in that same medical journal and found most patients will experience no meaningful benefit from the drugs. They also found benefits from the drugs may decrease over time and come with the increased risk of side effects.

According to the CDC, in 2016 about 20 percent of U.S. adults, or 50 million, had chronic pain, and it's one of the most common reasons they seek medical care. 

Also in 2016, the CDC issued guidelines for doctors on how to prescribe opioids more responsibly to patients with chronic pain.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.