Chronic Pain and Opioids

  • Martin D. CheatleEmail author
  • Rollin M. Gallagher


The medical community for the treatment of acute, surgical, and cancer-related pain has long accepted opioid analgesics. Over the past several decades, this acute and cancer-related opioid therapy model for pain control was expanded to include chronic nonmalignant pain conditions. While it has been highly debated as to the long-term efficacy of opioid therapy for chronic pain, there is evidence that opioids can be effective in the treatment of chronic pain in a subgroup of individuals. However, there are certain risks associated with the long-term use of opioid analgesics. The prescribing clinician must consider not only common adverse effect of this class of medications but also the unique adverse effects associated with long-term opioid administration including the risk of misuse, abuse, and developing an opioid use disorder (OUD). The risks and benefits of prescribing opioids must be carefully weighed for each chronic pain patient. This chapter will provide a review of the risks and benefits of using opioid analgesics in the treatment of chronic pain. Potential problems associated with opioid therapy are addressed, and various strategies to manage these problems are included.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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