Opioids for chronic noncancer pain. Tailoring therapy to fit the patient and the pain

Postgrad Med. 2004 Sep;116(3):37-40, 43-4. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2004.09.1581.


Opioids are powerful medications with a history that includes use for pain relief and, at times, addiction. This history of therapy versus drug abuse continues to cloud their prescription today, despite reports of effective treatment for the chronic pain that certain diseases can bring. Here, Drs Antoin and Beasley review the use of opioid agents in medicine, highlight the importance of proper patient selection and education in their use, and convey how opioids can be a viable option today for successful therapy for chronic noncancer pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacokinetics
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Monitoring / methods*
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Patient Selection
  • Urinalysis / methods


  • Analgesics, Opioid