Opioids in pain management

Pain Research, Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, University of Oxford, The Churchill, Oxford Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, UK.
The Lancet (Impact Factor: 39.21). 07/1999; 353(9171):2229-32. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(99)03528-X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Opioids are our most powerful analgesics, but politics, prejudice, and our continuing ignorance still impede optimum prescribing. Just over 100 years ago, opium poppies were still grown on the Cambridgeshire fens in the UK to provide oblivion for the working man and his family, but the brewing lobby argued on thin evidence that their potions were less dangerous. The restriction of opioid availability to protect society and the individual continues in many countries. In this review I focus on chronic and cancer pain, but many of the principles apply in acute pain. The justification for this focus is that patients with chronic pain may suffer longer and unnecessarily if we prescribe and legislate badly.