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Evid Based Nurs 8:88 doi:10.1136/ebn.8.3.88
  • Treatment

Review: intravenous and oral opioids reduce chronic non-cancer pain but are associated with high rates of constipation, nausea, and sleepiness

Opioids v placebo for chronic non-cancer pain*

Outcomes at 6–24 months Number of trials (n) Opioids Placebo RRI (95% CI) NNH (CI)
*Abbreviations defined in glossary; RRI, NNH, and CI calculated from data in article.
⩾1 adverse event 4 (445) 80% 56% 40% (30 to 60) 4 (3 to 6)
Constipation 8 (1114) 41% 11% 260% (170 to 370) 3 (3 to 4)
Nausea 8 (1114) 32% 12% 170% (110 to 260) 5 (4 to 6)
Sleepiness/sedation 7 (1022) 29% 10% 230% (140 to 350) 5 (4 to 7)

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