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Burden of disease is often aggravated by opioid treatment of chronic pain patients: Etiology and prevention

Harald Breivik, Audun Stubhaug

Pain, Volume 155, Issue 12, December 2014, p2441-2443

For more than two decades, Danish doctors have prescribed opioids for chronic noncancer pain more liberally than have doctors in the neighboring countries. We have been looking to Denmark for the long-term effects of this liberal practice that, as early as 2003, Jørgen Eriksen called ‘‘working in a minefield’’ . In this issue of Pain, Ekholm and coworkers in Per Sjøgren’s research group report data from the ongoing health surveys in Denmark: They followed 13,127 persons from the 2000 and 2005 surveys for up to 11 years. In all, 20% (2557) had chronic pain, and 7% of these (167) were on long-term and 15% (375) on short-term opioid therapy at baseline. Their data are from face-to-face interviews of the cohorts in 2000 and 2005 and from the Danish national registries of drug prescriptions, hospital admissions, and causes of death.

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