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Review
, 13 (4), 525-32

Basic Concepts in Opioid Prescribing and Current Concepts of Opioid-Mediated Effects on Driving

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Review

Basic Concepts in Opioid Prescribing and Current Concepts of Opioid-Mediated Effects on Driving

Adam M Kaye et al. Ochsner J.

Abstract

Background: Many patients with chronic pain receive substandard analgesic therapy. Incomplete or inadequate care often stems from physician fears of patient addiction and/or drug toxicity. As a result, many chronic pain patients are undertreated and have unrelieved pain that tempts them to overuse or to abuse prescribed pharmacologic treatments. In the last few years, educational efforts have targeted physicians who treat chronic, nonmalignant pain with information to improve prescribing strategies and to appreciate side effects. Additionally, opioid prescribing guidelines and educational programs, including World Health Organization-published guidelines for the management of cancer pain in 1986 and the American Pain Society's promotion of pain as the 5(th) vital sign, have increased the propensity of pharmacists, physicians, and pain specialists to dispense pain treatments.

Methods: Controversial and evolving consequences from this explosion of prescription opioid use have emerged and are discussed in this review, including prescribing principles, opioid analgesic side effects, and driving concerns.

Conclusion: With additional appreciation for the untoward effects of chronic analgesia and a better understanding of opioid pharmacology, physicians can utilize pain management treatments in a safer and more effective manner.

Keywords: Analgesics—opioid; chronic pain; medication therapy management; opioid-related disorders.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have no financial or proprietary interest in the subject matter of this article.

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