Opioid complications and side effects
Authors: Ramsin Benyamin, Andrea M Trescot, Sukdeb Datta, Ricardo Buenaventura, Rajive Adlaka, Nalini Sehgal, Scott E Glaser, and Ricardo Vallejo
Medications which bind to opioid receptors are increasingly being prescribed for the treatment of multiple and diverse chronic painful conditions. Their use for acute pain or terminal pain is well accepted. Their role in the long-term treatment of chronic noncancer pain is, however, controversial for many reasons. One of the primary reasons is the well-known phenomenon of psychological addiction that can occur with the use of these medications. Abuse and diversion of these medications is a growing problem as the availability of these medications increases and this public health issue confounds their clinical utility. Also, the extent of their efficacy in the treatment of pain when utilized on a chronic basis has not been definitively proven. Lastly, the role of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain is also influenced by the fact that these potent analgesics are associated with a significant number of side effects and complications. It is these phenomena that are the focus of this review.