Management of opioid medications in patients with chronic pain and risk of substance misuse

Seddon R Savage
Current Psychiatry Reports 2009, 11 (5): 377-84
When prescribed appropriately and used as prescribed, opioid medications can safely and effectively treat pain. Best practices with respect to their use in chronic non-cancer-related pain (CNCP) are evolving. Opioids may be subject to misuse for a variety of purposes, including self-medication, use for reward, compulsive use because of addiction, and diversion for profit. Individuals with chronic pain and co-occurring substance use, mental health disorders, and other conditions may be at increased risk for misuse of prescribed opioids. Interdisciplinary pain management, the use of universal precautions in all patients, and special attention to the structure of care in those at higher risk for opioid misuse may improve outcomes in opioid treatment of CNCP. This article discusses evolving research and clinical literature related to the care of individuals with CNCP at a higher risk for opioid misuse.

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