Friday, December 23, 2011

“Hit Parade” of the Top 10 UPDATES for 2011

Top 10 Updates During 2011, we posted 145 News/Research UPDATES articles, which were viewed in total more than 115,000 times by 67,000 visitors; a third of those persons were regular repeat visitors to the UPDATES site. And, we thank each and every one of you.

Which were the most popular, frequently visited UPDATES this past year? Here is a recap of the Top 10 in our “Hit Parade” of articles that visitors found of greatest interest. So, take a look at any that you missed. [Each of the links below opens in a new browser window, so you can easily glance at an UPDATE of interest without losing your place at this page.]

Making Sense of Pain Research [series]
Healthcare professionals, and most certainly patients, usually have had little if any specific training in how to critically evaluate research. During 2011, 10 UPDATES in this series were posted and, combined, have attracted more visitors than any other article postings. Easy-to-grasp guidance, with examples, closes the education gap and teaches readers how to understand and interpret the often mysterious and complex language of pain research articles to assess their validity and value for clinical practice. [Click Here for Series Article List]

Is Buprenorphine Effective for Chronic Pain?
Last April, guest author Dmitry M. Arbuck, MD, shared his insights and experiences with the new transdermal buprenorphine patch (Butrans®), which became available in the United States in early 2011. It previously had been available in Europe and other countries. Of special interest, Arbuck describes adjunctively prescribing a liquid oral naltrexone formulation, 1 to 8 mcg per day, in conjunction with the buprenorphine patch for added effectiveness. [See UPDATE Here]

Why Do Patients Dislike Pain Care Providers?
This UPDATE was posted in late 2010 and continued to gather interest throughout 2011. Chronic pain is a common complaint among patients seeking treatment from primary care providers; yet, research found that patients report low levels of satisfaction with their pain care providers, the care they receive, and the outcomes. A number of reasons for these unfortunate findings are discussed. [Read Here]

Why Practitioners Dislike Chronic Pain Patients
As if in rebuttal to the above article expressing patients’ perspectives, research reported last January in the journal Pain Medicine suggests that treating patients with chronic pain also can be a pain for healthcare practitioners. Accordingly, improving the delivery of effective pain management must consider the needs and concerns of practitioners, especially primary care providers. [Click Here]

Is There a Role for Topical Opioids in Pain Care?
Topical medications have been used for ages and are delivered via a variety of dosage formulations including creams, ointments, gels, lotions, solutions, pastes, and sprays. Various agents have been applied topically for pain relief; however, for unknown reasons, the topical application of opioids has been largely overlooked. As this UPDATE discusses, such formulations might be a safe and effective alternative for the better care of many acute and chronic pain conditions. [Learn More Here]

What Works Best for Acute Pain? Evidence Review.
Posted last September, this UPDATE discusses a Cochrane Review of data — including 45,000 patients involved in 350 individual clinical trials — providing evidence of what to expect from commonly used pain relievers taken at specific doses for acute pain. The review also identifies analgesics for which there is only poor or no reliable evidence. Topping the list for pain relief were etoricoxib and oxycodone-plus-acetaminophen, while codeine scored the worst. [Click Here]

What’s Gone Wrong with Pain Management?
A thought-provoking essay by a long-term pain practitioner — Gerald M. Aronoff, MD — presents a controversial indictment of current pain management perspectives and approaches. Of special concern are procedural techniques, or interventions, that may be driven more by economics than better patient care and, in the ongoing turf wars between interventionists and medical practitioners, patients with pain are in danger of becoming collateral damage. [Read Here]

Myth-Representations of Opioids & Their Risks
After more than a decade of increasing opioid prescribing for chronic pain, the pendulum may be swinging the other way. An editorial last September in a major journal appeared to reflect common “myth-understandings” and negative perspectives on the effectiveness and potential harms of opioids. So, this UPDATE article attempts to dispel the pernicious myths and shift the unbalanced dialog back toward patient needs and benefits of opioids. [Click Here]

Rx Monitoring Doesn’t Stem Opioid Overdose Deaths
Prescription drug abuse, diversion, overdoses, and fatalities — largely involving opioid analgesics — have been called an American epidemic. The implementation of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, or PDMPs, were expected to help control the problems. However, while PDMPs have been implemented throughout the U.S. by a majority of states during the past decade, a surprising report from the CDC last February raised significant questions about their effectiveness. [See Details Here]

Vitamin D – A Champion of Pain Relief [series]
A growing body of evidence suggests that supplemental vitamin D3 can help to resolve or alleviate various chronic pain and fatigue syndromes in many patients who have been unresponsive to other therapies. During 2011, 6 additional UPDATES discussing the latest research in this continuing series were posted, and readers have consistently found these to be of interest. [Click Here for Listings]