Morphine Found to Have Limited Value in Certain Chronic Pain Patients, Researchers Say

Morphine Found to Have Limited Value in Certain Chronic Pain Patients, Researchers Say
Chronic pain can seriously affect the quality of life of a person, and it is often experienced by patients with medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis. Now, researchers say that the use of the opioid morphine has only limited therapeutic value for controlling pain in these patients.
The results of the study were featured in an issue of the journal Pain Practice. The sensitivity for pain in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome depends largely on the function of central pain mechanisms — pain inhibitory and enhanced pain facilitatory mechanisms. Several studies have tried to find the underlying processes behind chronic pain, but depending on the illness, different systems seem to be involved. Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia often have widespread hypersensitivity to pain due to a malfunction of the processes that control pain in the central nervous system (CNS), called central sensitization. This is when pain itself modifies the way the CNS works, and the patient gets more pain with less provocation. Rheumatoid arthritis patients, however, have pain caused by altered pain modulation processes. Drug prescriptions to reduce pain are common, but the response to these drugs varies greatly. Understanding how patients with different conditions respond to the same medication can help researchers identify the differences and similarities of the nature of chronic pain, and may help identify the best treatment for each condition. In the study, titled
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