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Anesthesiol Clin North America. 2005 Mar;23(1):37-48.

Postoperative care of the chronic opioid-consuming patient.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Utah School of Health Sciences, 30 North 1900 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA. jeff.swenson@hsc.utah.edu


Recently, there has been a significant increase in the use of opioid analgesics for chronic pain in the outpatient setting. As a result, anesthesiologists are commonly presented with the dilemma of treating acute postoperative pain in patients who do not receive adequate analgesia with conventional doses of opioid. This article presents a practical approach to treating postoperative pain in the chronic opioid-consuming patient. Specifically, a technique based on pharmacokinetic modeling is described that predicts safe and therapeutic opioid dosing in these patients.

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