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The first study to combine the antidepressant nortriptyline with morphine successfully reduced hard to treat neuropathic pain according to this story. Both drugs are cheap and readily available. The study comes at a time when many are trying to reduce opioid use, however
Combining nortriptyline and morphine successfully relieves chronic neuropathic pain
The combination of two well-known drugs will have unprecedented effects on pain management, says new research from Queen's.
Combining morphine, a narcotic pain reliever, and nortriptyline, an antidepressant, has been found to successfully relieve chronic neuropathic pain - or a localized sensation of pain due to abnormal function of the nervous system - in 87 per cent of patients, and significantly better than with either drug alone.
"Chronic pain is an increasingly common problem and can exert disastrous personal, societal, and socio-economic impacts on patients, their families, and their communities," says Ian Gilron, lead author of the study. "Current neuropathic pain treatments are ineffective or intolerable for many sufferers so this new evidence supporting the morphine-nortriptyline combination is important news for patients."
During the study, average daily pain was measured using a patient's numerical rating of pain on a validated scale from 0 - 10. It was found that average daily pain before treatment was 5.6, which dropped to 2.6 when the patient was receiving the drug combination. On average, patients taking nortriptyline and morphine alone rated their pain at 3.1 and 3.4, respectively.