Aspirin, ibuprofen and other painkillers ‘may actually make the agony worse’


Taking aspirin and ibuprofen as pain relievers might be completely unnecessary, a study has found.

Experts have now warned that cheap drugs could actually leave patients dying for longer.

The findings challenge the conventional practice of treating pain with anti-inflammatory drugs, taken by millions of people around the world.

Researchers today hailed the “excellent” study, based on lab tests on human cells and mice.

However, they urged people not to give up their painkillers overnight, as the drugs have proven to be effective in the short term.

Taking aspirin and ibuprofen as pain relievers might be completely unnecessary, a study has found. Experts have now warned that cheap drugs could actually leave patients dying for longer

The study by researchers in Canada and Italy suggests that inflammation may not be the nemesis after all.

Instead, it could be protective in the long run. One researcher said it “can be dangerous to interfere with”.

Popular anti-inflammatories include diclofenac, naproxen, and piroxicam.

The research, in the The journal Science Translational Medicine also looked at steroids like dexamethasone, which works similarly.

Anti-inflammatories work by blocking neutrophils, white blood cells that help the body start the healing process.

Experts analyzed blood samples, taken three times, from 98 people suffering from lower back pain.

Patients whose pain eventually went away had significantly more neutrophils in their blood, compared to those who were still stricken.

This inspired researchers to test neutrophil blockade in mice injured with anti-inflammatories like dexamethasone and diclofenac.

Scientists found that blocking neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that causes inflammation as part of tissue healing, actually prolonged pain duration in mouse studies.  Experts were inspired to conduct the experiment after finding differences in genetic samples taken from people with ongoing lower back pain.

Scientists found that blocking neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that causes inflammation as part of tissue healing, actually prolonged pain duration in mouse studies. Experts were inspired to conduct the experiment after finding differences in genetic samples taken from people with ongoing lower back pain.

HOW IS AMERICA ADDICTED TO OPIOIDS AND IS THE SAME ARRIVING HERE?

Research has shown opioid hospital admissions have soared 50% over the past decade in England, raising fears the UK is facing an opioid crisis similar to that of the US. States that has devastated thousands of families.

In the early 2000s, the FDA and CDC began noticing a steady increase in cases of opioid addiction and overdose. In 2013, they released guidelines for dealing with addiction.

However, that same year — now considered the year the painkiller epidemic took hold — a CDC report found an unprecedented rise in opioid addiction rates.

Overdose deaths are now the leading cause of death among young Americans – killing more in a year than ever before from HIV, gun violence or car accidents.

In 2019, the CDC revealed that nearly 71,000 Americans died from drug overdoses.

That figure is up from around 59,000 three years earlier, in 2016, and more than double the death rate from a decade ago.

This means that drug overdoses are currently the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.

The data lays bare the grim state of America’s opioid addiction crisis, fueled by deadly manufactured drugs like fentanyl.

Most control mice stopped feeling pain within two months.

But rodents on anti-inflammatories felt pain twice as long on average, with some suffering for 10 times longer than the control group.

Replicating the experiment with painkillers that don’t target inflammation, such as paracetamol (acetaminophen), did not produce the same sustained pain response.

This suggested inflammation played a role in wound healing and pain resolution, the authors said.

The findings were backed up by a separate analysis of 500,000 people which showed those who took anti-inflammatories to treat their pain were more likely to have pain two to 10 years later.

Professor Jeffrey Mogil, author of the study from McGill University in Canada, said that by interfering with this painful initial period, doctors could do more harm than good.

“Neutrophils dominate the early stages of inflammation and set the stage for tissue damage repair,” he said.

“Inflammation happens for a reason, and it seems dangerous to interfere with it.

“For many decades, common medical practice has been to treat pain with anti-inflammatories.

“But we found that this short-term solution could lead to longer-term problems.”

He added that although ibuprofen was not studied explicitly in the experiments, it would have been reflected in the analysis of 500,000 Britons.

“It is highly likely that a large percentage of those in the UK Biobank who reported taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were actually taking ibuprofen,” he said.

Another author, Dr Massimo Allegri, from Monza Hospital in Italy, argued the findings could mean doctors need to treat painful injuries differently.

“Our results suggest it may be time to reconsider how we treat acute pain,” he said.

“Fortunately, pain can be killed in other ways that don’t involve interfering with inflammation.”

Experts have called for more leads comparing anti-inflammatories to other painkillers that don’t disrupt inflammation.

Chronic pain and the drugs prescribed for it are one of the drivers of the prescription painkiller addiction crisis in the United States and Britain.

Dr Franziska Denk, a chronic pain expert at King’s College London, said the study was a “wonderful start”.

But she said more research needed to be done before changing the way doctors treated patients.

“It would certainly be premature to make recommendations about people’s medications until we have the results of a prospectively designed clinical trial,” she said.

“In my view, this study should not generate debate around the use of NSAIDs in low back pain – much more research is needed to confirm these findings first.”

Professor Blair Smith, a pain expert from the University of Dundee, said the latest study was “great” research, but people should keep taking their medications as advised until more scientific work is completed.

“It’s also important to note that anti-inflammatory drugs are effective in short-term pain management,” he said.

“There is good quality evidence to support this and it should not be withheld unnecessarily.”

Ongoing chronic pain has been blamed for fueling a painkiller addiction crisis in the UK and US that has destroyed thousands of lives.

A study from the London School of Economics published in February found that hospitalizations for opioid overdoses in England have soared by 50% in a decade.

Experts have also warned that the use of prescription painkillers is likely on the rise as millions of patients suffer agony as they are trapped on record waiting lists for surgeries like hip replacements. on the NHS.

In the United States, the opioid addiction crisis has resulted in 600,000 overdose deaths since 1999.

About 5 million people a year in England receive prescription opioids, and more than half a million have taken them for at least three years, according to a 2019 government report.


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