Non-opiates and non-pharmacological therapy are first line treatment for chronic non-malignant pain (CNMP).1 There is a useful two page CDC summary2 and a NICE guideline.3
- Good CNMP management includes psychological therapy. Pharmacological therapy has poor evidence beyond the acute pain management stages.
- Opioids are rarely first-line or routine therapy for CNMP.
- Before starting opioids check expectations for pain and function, and zero pain is not the goal. Check for history of all drug dependence or intoxication.
- Start with short acting first.
- Extreme caution when going above ≥ 50 morphine milligram equivalents/day.
- Long term use often starts with acute pain so prescribe the lowest effective dose of short acting – 3 days or less will often be sufficient and more than 7 days rarely needed.
- There is no particular advantage for oxycodone over morphine.
This Gem has been checked by Dr Linda Bryant, Clinical Pharmacist.