New research suggests that spinal cord stimulation (SCS) therapy has the potential to reduce or stabilise the use of opioids in patients battling chronic pain.
The research was sponsored by Abbott, a global company that develops and manufactures SCS systems and therapy options.
Researchers studied the opioid usage data from nearly 5,400 patients both prior to and after receiving an SCS system implant.
The research study was presented at the 2017 North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) annual meeting by Ashwini Sharan, director of Functional and Epilepsy Surgery at Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Jefferson and president of NANS.
Sharan said: "Given the epidemic of opioid addiction and abuse, these findings are important and confirm that spinal cord stimulation therapy can offer strong benefits for patients struggling with chronic pain.
"Based on these results, we concluded it may be possible to improve outcomes by offering our patients spinal cord stimulation earlier, before opioid dependence and addiction can occur."
In an SCS system, an implanted device is very much identical to a pacemaker that provides a low level electrical energy to nerve fibers, and interrupts pain signals as they travel to the brain to reduce the sensation of pain.
Researchers have also found out that on an average daily usage opioid was reduced or stabilised for patients receiving a successful SCS system compared to patient use of opioids prior to an implant.