Opioid-induced abnormal pain sensitivity
- Cite this article as:
- Mao, J. Current Science Inc (2006) 10: 67. doi:10.1007/s11916-006-0011-5
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Opioid analgesics are effective for treating many pain conditions. Opioid analgesic tolerance is a pharmacologic phenomenon that could affect the clinical use of opioid analgesics. Recent studies have shown that neural plasticity associated with the development of opioid tolerance may activate a pronociceptive mechanism that could counteract the analgesic effects of opioids. Thus, exposure to opioids could lead to two seemingly unrelated cellular processes (ie, the development of opioid tolerance and opioid-induced pain sensitivity). Their converging effects may be part of the mechanisms leading to the reduced opioid analgesic efficacy in chronic opioid therapy.