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The Appropriate Use of Opiates in Chronic Pain

Autry J. Parker, MD, MPH

Published: August 15, 2012

Article Abstract

Chronic pain is a common but undertreated health problem in the United States. Opioids are effective for moderate-to-severe chronic pain, but these drugs must be used with care due to the risks for overdose and addiction. When initiating opioid treatment, physicians should perform a complete patient history, physical exam, and other appropriate testing and also assess the patient’s risk for substance misuse, abuse, or addiction. Patients should be monitored regularly for both improvement of function and for aberrant drug behaviors. With proper monitoring and risk management, patients with chronic pain can be treated effectively and safely with opioids.

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