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Smoking, Gender Affect Pain Treatment Effectiveness

Men who light up show less improvement after therapy, study says

SATURDAY, Oct. 18, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- Women appear to respond better than men to chronic pain treatment, and men who smoke appear to receive even less of benefit, a new study says.

The Mayo Clinic study, to be presented Saturday at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., involved more than 1,200 men and women admitted to a three-week outpatient pain treatment program. It aimed to restore physical functionality, and reduce or eliminate use of medications for chronic pain.

Previous studies had shown that smokers generally do not benefit as much as nonsmokers from pain management, mostly because their physical health is worse going into the program.

Study leader Dr. W. Michael Hooten, of the Mayo Clinic, said that men showing less improvement in pain management program could also be caused by work activities and/or other poorly understood societal factors.

He suggested further research should concentrate finding treatment strategies that could better help male smokers.

More information

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about chronic pain.

SOURCE: American Society of Anesthesiologists, news release, Oct. 18, 2008
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