Evidence supporting the efficacy of long-term opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain is scarce. However, weak evidence suggests that those who are able to continue opioids long-term experience clinically significant pain relief. Fear of opioid abuse or addiction should not impede the prescribing of opioids if the patients are carefully selected and monitored. In patients taking opioids who experience intolerable side effects or unsatisfactory pain relief, alternatives should be sought as soon as possible.
This report is adapted from paineurope 2014; Issue 1, ©Haymarket Medical Publications Ltd., and is presented with permission. paineurope is provided as a service to pain management by Mundipharma International, Ltd., and is distributed free of charge to healthcare professionals in Europe. Archival issues can be accessed via the Web site: http://www.paineurope.com, at which European health professionals can register online to receive copies of the quarterly publication.