Benefits and harms of drugs for “neuropathic” pain | Therapeutics Initiative – January 19, 2016
Chronic pain (at times presumed to be “neuropathic” in origin) is a common problem in clinical practice. It is now well recognized that the results of drug treatment are more often disappointing than no
Despite this, from 2005-2014 the number of British Columbians prescribed
- gabapentin increased 1.8 fold,
- pregabalin 17 fold, and
- duloxetine 3.6 fold (from 2008).
- Use of venlafaxine (mostly for depression/anxiety) has remained relatively stable.
Study Reveals New Treatment Target for Fibromyalgia: Inflammation in the Brain – National Pain Report – April 11, 2017 – By Ginevra Liptan, MD
Scientists have long suspected that inflammation in the brain (neuroinflammation) could be the cause of the amplification of pain signals in the brain seen in fibromyalgia.
They can show this to be the case in lab animals, but this theory has been hard to prove in humans—mostly because researchers can’t very easily biopsy brain tissue of living people!
However, some very creative Swedish scientists figured out a different way assess levels of inflammation in the brain, by sampling the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Continue reading
Low-Dose Penicillin in Early Life Induces Long-Term Changes in Behaviour – newswise.com – April 4th 2017
I’m posting this only to illustrate the increasingly obvious important of our gut microbes. In seeking to destroy harmful pathogens, antibiotics ravage the colonies of microbes living in our gut that we rely on for good health – physical and even mental.
Low-dose penicillin in early life induces long-term changes in behaviour, gut microbes and brain inflammation
In a landmark study, researchers at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University have found that providing clinical (low) doses of penicillin to pregnant mice and their offspring results in long-term behavioural changes. Continue reading
We need to pay better attention to medication side effects|Marlene Beggelman, MD | Meds | February 22, 2017
Clinicians often misdiagnose problems caused by medications, especially when patients take multi-drug combinations.
In a study a few years ago, when patients told their doctors they had symptoms that are widely known reactions to the drugs they were taking, almost half the doctors told them there was no connection.
A typical report: the “doctor suggested it was (my) imagination” or that “it’s all in my head.”
It’s comforting to hear this is so common for many medications because this is exactly what has happened to me several times in the past. Continue reading
Fighting War on Chronic Pain With OTC Drugs, Many Patients Unaware of Dangers – Pain Medicine News
Most patients who manage their pain with medication are unschooled about the risks of those medications, as well as how those risks change with dose
Nearly two-thirds of those experiencing pain used over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and one-third used prescription pain medications.
A high proportion of patients showed substantial ignorance about the relevant medications.
Is alcohol effective as a painkiller? January 26, 2017 by Trevor Thompson
How many people have sustained an injury (accidental or other) after a few too many drinks, to find that the pain only really kicks in after they have sobered up?
Pain experienced the morning after our drunken exploits may lend weight to the established belief that alcohol provides an effective form of pain relief.
Historically, alcohol was a predecessor to modern anaesthetics. It wasn’t quite as long ago as we might imagine that patients were carried into operating theatres in a drunken stupor to undergo surgery. Continue reading
How traumatic memories hide in the brain, and how to retrieve them: Special brain mechanism discovered to store stress-related, unconscious memories —ScienceDaily – August 17, 2015 – Northwestern University
At first, hidden memories that can’t be consciously accessed may protect the individual from the emotional pain of recalling the event. But eventually those suppressed memories can cause debilitating psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or dissociative disorders.
A process known as state-dependent learning is believed to contribute to the formation of memories that are inaccessible to normal consciousness. Thus, memories formed in a particular mood, arousal or drug-induced state can best be retrieved when the brain is back in that state.
The findings show there are multiple pathways to storage of fear-inducing memories, and we identified an important one for fear-related memories,” Continue reading
Alcohol and pain in the population – BodyInMind – Comfortably numb – January 22, 2017
There is a problem in observational epidemiology. If a disease has an association with a behaviour within the population, we cannot tell which of these is true:
- the behaviour causes the disease;
- the disease causes the behaviour; or
- a third factor causes both.
The first instinct for the reader of an epidemiological study is often to infer that the behaviour causes the disease with which it is associated.
This is what gives rise to newspaper headlines warning of everyday items that cause or cure cancer. Continue reading
Three Upcoming Pain Drugs – Clinical Pain Advisor – January 25, 2017 – Laura Stiles, Assistant Editor
Due to the prevalence of prescription opioid abuse in the United States, the development of abuse-resistant pain medications has been a focus for many pharmaceutical companies in recent years.
Pharmaceutical companies are poised to take advantage of new government-supported requirement that opioids be abuse-resistant because this will allow them to develop new patentable and profitable drugs.
For many of us, the older opioids we take do NOT generate much profit for these companies, so our campaign to have access to our existing opioids is not in the best interest of drug companies.
Kolodny’s latest accusation that patients are merely an opioid lobbying group is thus absurd.
Effects of antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers on risk for physical diseases in people with schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder – World Psychiatry. 2015 Jun – PMCID: PMC4471960
This is the category of non-opioid medications the CDC recommends for pain over opioids, which are much safer for the vast majority (95%) of pain patients who do not get addicted.
People with severe mental illness have a considerably shorter lifespan than the general population.
This excess mortality is mainly due to physical illness.
Next to mental illness-related factors, unhealthy lifestyle, and disparities in health care access and utilization, psychotropic medications can contribute to the risk of physical morbidity and mortality Continue reading