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Can we address both chronic pain and the opioid crisis? Yes, pain doctors say

The United States is struggling with two interconnected epidemics — opioid abuse and chronic pain — says Sean Mackey, MD, Stanford's chief of pain medicine, and there are no easy solutions. As Mackey and Ming-Chih Kao, MD, PhD, clinic chief at the Stanford Pain Management Center, note in an editorial in the British Medical Journal, 20 million Americans suffer from high-impact chronic pain, or pain so severe it impairs their daily...

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Opioid epidemic makes eastern inroads and targets African-Americans

More than 350,000 Americans have died from opioids since 2000. The painkillers now kill more Americans than car accidents or guns. Opioid-related deaths have jumped fourfold in the last two decades, and the epidemic has made major inroads in some eastern states, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Harvard University and the University of Toronto. “Although opioid-related mortality...

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For patients on antidepressants, a common opioid is less effective

Two of the most frequently prescribed medications don’t go well together, Stanford researchers have learned. The unfortunate result: Some patients experience more pain and are possibly more prone to opioid abuse. The medications are hydrocodone, an opioid often given to patients after surgery and one of the most prescribed medications in the United States, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a common type of...