Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Adjuvant Analgesics in Management of Cancer-Related Neuropathic Pain

  • David Lussier
  • Russell K. Portenoy
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_106


An adjuvant analgesic (see  adjuvant analgesics) is any drug that has a primary indication other than pain, but is analgesic in some painful conditions.


Cancer pain caused by neuropathic mechanisms is relatively less responsive to opioid drugs than pain caused by nociceptive mechanisms (Cherny et al. 1994). However, when adjuvant analgesics are appropriately combined with opioid and non-opioid analgesics (anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen), it is possible to obtain a degree of analgesia similar to the one achieved in nociceptive pain (Grond et al. 1999). Several classes of adjuvant analgesics can be used in neuropathic pain. Some are useful in a variety of pain syndromes (nociceptive pain, bone pain, myofascial pain) and are, therefore, termed multipurpose adjuvant analgesics, whereas others are used specifically for neuropathic pain. Although adjuvant analgesics are used extensively to treat cancer-related pain, the scientific evidence is often limited...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Lussier
    • 1
  • Russell K. Portenoy
    • 2
  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealQCCanada
  2. 2.Department of Pain and Palliative CareBeth Israel Medical CenterNew YorkUSA