Medikamentöse therapie von tumorschmerzen: II. Anwendung von opioiden Journal Article


Authors: Cherny, N. I.; Portenoy, R. K.; Raber, M.; Zenz, M.
Article Title: Medikamentöse therapie von tumorschmerzen: II. Anwendung von opioiden
Abstract: The adequate use of opioids in the treatment of chronic cancer pain requires sound knowledge of selection criteria for the various opioids, the routes of administration, dosages, dosing schemes and possible side effects. Drug selection depends on the intensity of pain rather than on the specific pathophysiology. Mild to moderate pain can often be treated effectively by so-called "weak" opioids. These include codeine, dihydrocodeine and dextropropoxyphene. Non-opioid analgesics, like acetylsalicylic acid or paracetamol can be added according to the "analgesic ladder" proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). If adequate pain relief is not achieved "strong" opioids are required. The route of administration that is the safest and the least invasive for the patient should be chosen. Non-invasive (oral, rectal, sublingual, transdermal and intranasal) and invasive routes (intravenous, subcutaneous, spinal and epidural) are available (Table 8). Noninvasive routes are preferred, and most patients can be maintained on oral opioids. Alternatively, in some patients pain can be managed by the sublingual (buprenorphine) route. A transdermal preparation exists for fentanyl, but has not yet been approved for the German market. If the oral route cannot be used or if large doses are required, it will be necessary to change to an invasive route. Intravenous bolus injections provide the fastest onset of analgesic action. They are mostly used in very severe pain. Repeated injections can be avoided by using intravenous or subcutaneous infusions. Various types of pumps delivering analgesics at constant basal infusion rates with the option of rescue doses in case of breakthrough pain are available (patient-controlled analgesia=PCA). Opioids frequently used for s. c. infusion are morphine and hydromorphone. Adjuvant drugs (antiemetics, anxiolytics) can be added. Epidural or intrathecal administration of opioids should only be used in intractable pain or if severe side effects, such as sedation and confusion, will arise with systemic opioids. Morphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl and sufentanil have been used, as have other additional compounds (e.g. local anaesthetics, clonidine). Intracerebroventricular application of morphine has been used only occasionally. In all cases, opioids should be given on to a fixed time schedule thereby, preventing pain from recurring. Additional rescue doses (approximately 50% of baseline single dose) are given for break-through pain. The most frequent side effect of opioids is constipation, and the administration of laxatives is often recommended (Table 5). Nausea, vomiting, sedation and confusion mostly occur in the beginning of opioid therapy. In contrast to constipation, tolerance to these effects develops within days or weeks. True dependence or psychological addiction rarely occurs in patients with chronic cancer pain. In most cases, progression of the underlying disease associated with increasing tissue damage and increasing pain is found. Fear of dependence and addiction often contributes to undertreatment of patients suffering from chronic cancer pain. © 1995 Springer-Verlag.
Keywords: constipation; review; drug efficacy; haloperidol; lorazepam; opiate; dexamethasone; cancer pain; chronic pain; administration; opioids; morphine; analgesia; droperidol; drug tolerance; intravenous drug administration; dosage; oral drug administration; diphenhydramine; selection; lactulose; docusate sodium; laxative; buprenorphine; side effects; hydroxyzine; bisacodyl; human; acylglycerol; golytely; sublingual drug administration
Journal Title: Der Schmerz
Volume: 9
Issue: 1
ISSN: 0932-433X
Publisher: Springer Verlag  
Date Published: 1995-01-01
Start Page: 3
End Page: 19
Language: German; English
DOI: 10.1007/bf02530380
PROVIDER: scopus
PUBMED: 18415494
DOI/URL:
Notes: "Pharmacotherapy of cancer pain: 2. Use of opioids" -- Article -- Export Date: 28 August 2018 -- Source: Scopus
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  1. Russell K. Portenoy
    151 Portenoy