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Neurology Group Backs Less Use of Narcotics

Narcotic pain relievers are usually too risky for long-term treatment of headaches, low back pain and fibromyalgia, new guidelines say. The statement comes from the American Academy of Neurology. Prescription narcotics are also called opioids. They include codeine, oxycodone, fentanyl and hydrocodone. Some pills also contain non-prescription pain relievers. Narcotics can provide short-term pain relief. But the guidelines say there is no proof that they can help long-term, non-cancer pain without major risks. These risks include serious side effects, overdose, addiction and death. Problems linked with narcotics have grown dramatically since the late 1990s. That's when doctors started prescribing them more often for non-cancer pain. The new guidelines describe precautions that doctors can take to help prevent abuse of these drugs.

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