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pharmacological

The Canadian Spine Surgeon’s Perspective: Avoiding Opioid Use in Spine Patients

Teaser: 

Alexandra Stratton, MD, MSc, FRCSC,1
Dr. Darren Roffey, PhD,2
Dr. Erica Stone, MD, FRCPC,3
Mohamed M. El Koussy, BSc,4
Dr. Eugene Wai, MD,5

1Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon, University of Ottawa Combined Adult Spinal Surgery Program, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON.
2University of Ottawa Spine Program, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON.
3Anesthesiology, PGY 6 Pain Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON.
4Clinical Research Assistant, University of Ottawa Combined Adult Spinal Surgery Program, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON.
5is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the care of adult spinal disorders. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Ottawa. In addition he is the Research Chair for the Canadian Spine Society. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec, Laval University, QC.

CLINICAL TOOLS

Abstract: Opioids are drugs with pain relieving properties; however, there is evidence that opioids are no more effective than non-opioid medications in treating low back pain (LBP), and opioid use results in higher adverse events and worse surgical outcomes. First line treatment should emphasize non-pharmacological modalities including education, self-care strategies, and physical rehabilitation. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are generally considered an appropriate introduction into pharmacological treatment when deemed necessary. Non-opioid adjunct medications can be considered for specific features related to LBP such as neuropathic leg pain. Primary care providers should exhaust first and second line treatments before considering low-dose opioids, and only then in consultation with evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
Key Words: Pharmacological; low back pain; radiculopathy; opioids; analgesia.

Members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada may claim MAINPRO-M2 Credits for this unaccredited educational program.

www.cfpc.ca/Mainpro_M2

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1. First line treatment for low back and radicular leg pain is non-pharmacological.
2. Second line treatment includes NSAIDs (with or without proton pump inhibitor), and muscle relaxants (3 weeks maximum), gabapentinoids and antidepressants.
3. Exhausting non-opioid analgesics includes trialing different medications within the same class and at different doses since many of these medications have wide therapeutic dose ranges.
A "start low and go slow" approach is recommended for initiating pharmacological treatments for low back and radicular leg pain, especially when using neuroleptics and antidepressants.
When treating low back pain with neuropathic leg pain, patients who fail a trial of pregabalin may tolerate gabapentin, or vice versa.
Antidepressants have a role in managing low back pain, particularly chronic, even in the absence of mood disorder.
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Obesity, Weight Loss, and Low Back Pain: An Overview for Primary Care Providers—Part 2

Obesity, Weight Loss, and Low Back Pain: An Overview for Primary Care Providers—Part 2

Members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada may claim MAINPRO-M2 Credits for this unaccredited educational program.

www.cfpc.ca/Mainpro_M2
Teaser: 

1,2Darren M. Roffey PhD; 1Simon Dagenais DC, PhD, MSc; 3Ted Findlay DO, CCFP; 4,5Travis E. Marion MD, MSc; 6Greg McIntosh MSc; 7,8Mohammed F. Shamji MD, PhD, FRCSC; 1,2,4,5Eugene K. Wai MD, MSc, FRCSC

1University of Ottawa Spine Program, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, 2Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON,

3
Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, 4Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, 5Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, ON, 6CBI Health Group, Toronto, ON, 7Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON,

8Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract

Obesity and low back pain are equally complex medical conditions with multi-factorial etiologies. Their clinical practice guidelines both include recommendations for screening and examination that can be easily implemented. There is sufficient information to compile a framework for the primary care provider, partnering with the patient and appropriate specialists, to manage obesity and low back pain in a structured fashion. Weight loss and exercise are paramount and should be recommended as the first options. Cognitive behavioural therapy, pharmacological treatment and bariatric surgery may then be implemented sequentially depending upon the effectiveness of the initial interventions.

Key Words: Obesity, low back pain, exercise, nutrition, cognitive behavioural therapy, bariatric surgery, weight loss, pharmacological, evidence-based guideline.

Pharmacological Prevention of Fractures

Pharmacological Prevention of Fractures

Teaser: 

Anna Liachenko, BSc, MSc

While non-pharmacological approaches are clearly beneficial for prevention of osteoporosis (OP), for many women these measures are not enough and a pharmacological treatment is required. Until early this decade, this meant one choice, hormone replacement therapy. Now, non-hormonal bisphosphonate treatments are also available. Both approaches are comparably efficient in preventing bone loss, at least on repeat bone mineral density testing. Some experts are also advocating slow-release fluoride, and combination therapy is also increasing. However, treatment choice is a complex decision which should only be made after careful consideration of the risks and benefits of each treatment, by the patient and her physician.

Before reviewing particular classes of drugs, physicians need to remember that all patients at risk for OP or with proven OP should be taking calcium and vitamin D in appropriate doses (see Fracture Prevention Part 1).