How effective are opioids?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

While opioids have a long history of use for pain relief, there are no high-quality studies that prove they work well for chronic pain. Given the many dangers of opioids, most experts agree the risks for people with chronic pain are much greater than the benefits. 

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor. 

Opioids are extremely effective in managing acute and short term pain. For example the pain following breaking a bone or surgery to have the appendix removed. They are not effective at treating chronic pain.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.