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Eur J Pain. 2003;7(5):381-6.

Recommendations for using opioids in chronic non-cancer pain.

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  • 1Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.


1. The management of chronic pain should be directed by the underlying cause of the pain. Whatever the cause, the primary goal of patient care should be symptom control. 2. Opioid treatment should be considered for both continuous neuropathic and nociceptive pain if other reasonable therapies fail to provide adequate analgesia within a reasonable timeframe. 3. The aim of opioid treatment is to relieve pain and improve the patient's quality of life. Both of these should be assessed during a trial period. 4. The prescribing physician should be familiar with the patient's psychosocial status. 5. The use of sustained-release opioids administered at regular intervals is recommended. 6. Treatment should be monitored. 7. A contract setting out the patient's rights and responsibilities may help to emphasize the importance of patient involvement. 8. Opioid treatment should not be considered a lifelong treatment.

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