Warwick Uni experts are running a three year trial to help get chronic pain sufferers off strong, potentially addictive, drugs.
The National Institute of Health Research is funding the work.
Researchers from the University’s Warwick Medical School and The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, have developed a support programme that they hope will help people with long term pain reduce their dependency on strong pain killers (opioids) and improve their quality of life.
The trial is being led by Dr Harbinder Sandhu, associate professor, Warwick Medical School, and Professor Sam Eldabe, consultant in pain medicine, The James Cook University Hospital. It is funded from The NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme.
Dr Sandhu said: “Evidence suggests that opioids are only effective in the short term and patients take them long term then need to manage a range of side effects and can suffer devastating withdrawal symptoms.
“However in the UK reports indicate that between 2000-2010 prescriptions of opioids for non-cancer pain increased by 466% and in 2015 there were 16 million opioid prescriptions costing over £200 million.
“We hope that the results of our study will be used to help patients with long-term pain in the future.”