A few years ago, Renea Molden’s doctors told her they wanted to take her off her opioid pills. It did not sound like good idea to her.
“I was mad, I’ll be honest. I was mad. I was frustrated,” said Molden, 40, of Kansas City, Mo. She struggles with fibromyalgia, bulging discs and degenerative disc disease. Her doctors were concerned about her potentially taking hydrocodone for the rest of her life, but to her, the three pills she took each day seemed to be the only way she could make it through work, go shopping or even fix dinner.
“It felt like they were taking a part of my life away from me,” she said.
For many people with chronic pain, opioids can seem like the difference between a full life or one lived in agony. Over the past few decades, they have become go-to drugs for acute pain, but Dr. Erin Krebs, with the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System and the University of Minnesota, said research about the effectiveness of opioids for chronic pain was lacking. Even though millions of people take the drugs for long periods of time, there is little evidence to support that use.