One To Watch. OPAL – The Opioid Trial for Acute Back Pain

Last year there was a lot of coverage about the increasing use of opioids in back pain and other acute conditions leading to the opioid crisis. Arguably the most important contribution to the press coverage last year was in the Call to Action in the Lancet which was part of their 3 part series on back pain.

A direct response to the Lancets’ call to action is the OPAL trial, a randomised, placebo-controlled, triple-blinded trial that will investigate the judicious use of an opioid analgesic in 346 participants with acute low back pain and/or neck pain who are slow to recover. This is the world’s first placebo controlled trial investigating whether or not acute opioids effectively reduce back pain.

The protocol for the trial has been published in BMJ Open for a little while now. The trial is still in the recruitment phase but it is definitely one to watch out for the results as soon as available.