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[Pain therapy in intensive care patients].

After intensive care unit (ICU) treatment, the recollection of experienced pain is one of the most burdensome aftermaths. In addition, pain has several negative physiological consequences. The majority of patients report moderate to severe pain while being treated on an ICU, often caused by diagnostic or therapeutic procedures. Pain and its functional consequences during ICU treatment should therefore be systematically recorded and treated. Due to their high analgesic potency, pharmacological pain therapy focuses on opioids; however, gastrointestinal motility disturbance and development of tolerance are disadvantages. When applying non-opioids, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and paracetamol, attention should be paid to their possible organ toxicity. Ketamine and α2 -antagonists can complement the analgesic concept. Analogous to its perioperative administration, intravenous lidocaine in intensive care seems acceptable because of a favorable impact on opioid requirements and gastrointestinal motility. When using regional anesthesia the positive therapeutic effect and the possible complications need to be carefully weighed. Non-pharmaceutical procedures, especially transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), have proven successful in postoperative pain management. Even if only limited data from intensive care are available, a therapeutic attempt seems justifiable because of the low risk of complications.

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