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JAMA Clinical Evidence Synopsis
Clinician's Corner
February 6, 2013

Opioid Analgesics for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

Author Affiliations

JAMA Clinical Evidence Synopsis Section Editor: Mary McGrae McDermott, MD, Contributing Editor. We encourage authors to submit papers for consideration as a JAMA Clinical Evidence Synopsis. Please contact Dr McDermott at mdm608@northwestern.edu

Author Affiliations: Rheumatology Unit, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville, Australia (Dr Whittle); Rheumatology Unit, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, Australia (Dr Richards); and Monash Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Cabrini Hospital, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Malvern, Australia (Dr Buchbinder).

JAMA. 2013;309(5):485-486. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.193412

Clinical Question Do the benefits of opioid analgesics outweigh the risks in patients with persistent pain due to rheumatoid arthritis?

Bottom Line Weak opioids (such as codeine, dextropropoxyphene, and tramadol) may be effective in the short-term management of rheumatoid arthritis pain, but adverse effects are common and may outweigh the benefits; alternative analgesics should be considered first.