By Ed Coghlan.
The article—which was mostly a transcribed interview with Stanford pain psychologist and study co-author Dr. Beth Darnall—focused on four main points she made which she reinforced in a Twitter Tweet on the topic over the weekend.
Forced tapers fail.
Many patients want to reduce their does but don’t know and fear greater pain.
The goal was to test a compassionate, patient-centered taper method for those who WANTED to try.
The study is not for everyone.
“We believe we can help many patients reduce their health risks (and not increase pain) without forcing them to do anything. We are testing this in our PCORI funded 4 state patient-centered clinical trial,” she said.
The reaction among our readers was mixed. For some, this study was seen as a threat to their opioid prescriptions and future access to the medicine.
A reader who identified himself only as Marco submitted comments that resonated with some:
“If my choice is between addiction to opioids or addiction to pain, I will take the opioids anytime because they allow me to walk around, do chores, play music, watch a movie. Live life,” he wrote.
Reader Tim Mason didn’t like we covered the story at all.
“This is starting to sound more like an addiction blog. We are not addicts.”
(Editor’s Note—We are going to keep covering these studies, Tim)
For a reader who identified herself as Maureen M, she saw the study as an important step in better understanding the issue
“Dr. Darnall, thank you! ever so much for taking real interest in finding a way to truly help our community. I wish you the best! Please keep us informed!”
“Cynthia” also applauded the effort:
“There should be a lot more studies like this. Pain is way understudied and researched. Hardly anything is known about it.”
“Lori” summed up the feeling of many of our readers, and for that matter, the feeling of many people who have chronic pain and treat chronic pain.
“The whole opioid crisis has had a very profound negative impact on many chronic pain patients. People have been afraid that their meds will be restricted or cut-off altogether, without anyone asking them how their symptoms are. I think we may be on to something here if the government keeps their nose out of the doctor/patient relationship.”
On a personal note, we have long appreciated Dr. Darnall’s availability and willingness to discuss her work. We will continue to amplify it—and other research work—which is important to the future of how chronic pain is treated so that our readers can be informed about issues that matter to them.