Send to

Choose Destination
Expert Rev Neurother. 2013 Nov;13(11):1201-20. doi: 10.1586/14737175.2013.846517.

Chronic pain treatment with opioid analgesics: benefits versus harms of long-term therapy.

Author information

Department of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, 1685 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705-2281, USA.


Chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) is a disabling chronic condition with a high prevalence rate around the world. Opioids are routinely prescribed for treatment of chronic pain (CP). In the past two decades there has been a massive increase in the number of opioid prescriptions, prescribed daily opioid doses and overall opioid availability. Many more patients with CNCP receive high doses of long-acting opioids on a long-term basis. Yet CP and related disability rates remain high, and majority of the patients with CNCP are dissatisfied with their treatments. Intersecting with the upward trajectory in opioid use are the increasing trends in opioid related adverse effects, especially prescription drug abuse, addiction and overdose deaths. This complex situation raises questions on the relevance of opioid therapy in the treatment of CNCP. This article reviews current evidence on opioid effectiveness, the benefits and harms of long-term therapy in CNCP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center