New research from Abbott suggests that among chronic pain patients who received a spinal cord stimulation implant, their average daily opioid usage declined or stabilized over time.

In addition, among patients who removed their SCS systems, their usage of opioids increased over time.

This study makes the case for considering spinal cord stimulation earlier, before habitual usage of opioids takes hold among those who experience chronic pain, notes a media release from Abbott.

“Given the epidemic of opioid addiction and abuse, these findings are important and confirm that spinal cord stimulation therapy can offer strong benefits for patients struggling with chronic pain,” says Ashwini Sharan, MD, director of Functional and Epilepsy Surgery at Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Jefferson, in the release.

“Based on these results, we concluded it may be possible to improve outcomes by offering our patients spinal cord stimulation earlier, before opioid dependence and addiction can occur,” adds Sharan, president of the North American Neuromodulation Society. The study was presented recently during its 2017 annual meeting.

In the study, researchers examined opioid usage data from 5,476 patients both prior to and after receiving an SCS system implant. The data was collected between January 2010 and December 2014.

According to their data, per the release, the researchers found that SCS therapy is effective for patients at any level of opioid usage prior to implantation; and opioid use declined or stabilized in 70% of patients who received an SCS system.

In addition, among patients who had their SCS system removed, their opioid use was higher at 1 year compared to those who continued with SCS therapy.

Patient outcomes could be improved even more if SCS were implanted earlier in recognition of the clinical practice to provide increasing dosages of opioids over time, the release continues.

[Source(s): Abbott, PR Newswire]