Acute pain management in the postanesthesia care unit

Anesthesiol Clin. 2012 Sep;30(3):e1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.anclin.2012.09.001.


Pain management in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) is continually evolving, with several new nonopioids expanding the list of available agents. Pain in the PACU is not an inevitable outcome of surgery. With careful planning, multimodal analgesic techniques instituted preoperatively will reduce pain in the PACU. Accurate assessment of the characteristics of pain will direct rational drug choices while minimizing side effects. Better management of pain in the PACU setting will likely improve patient satisfaction and facilitate shorter PACU stays.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Pain / drug therapy*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Analgesia
  • Analgesia, Epidural
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Anesthesia
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Catheterization
  • Humans
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*
  • Recovery Room / organization & administration*


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Analgesics, Opioid