Current Anesthesiology Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 305–313 | Cite as

Opioid Therapy for Long-Term Pain Control in Non-terminal Patients

  • Kenneth S. Tseng
  • Lucy L. Chen
Pain Medicine (GJ Meredith, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Pain Medicine


In the US, the 1980s and 1990s were a period of renewed interest in the use of opioids, particularly for the palliation of patients with malignancy or terminal illness, but also for the treatment of chronic, non-terminal pain. However, as the number of prescription opioid overdose deaths rose, the medical profession was compelled to take a more systematic look at the risks and benefits of long-term opioid use. Three consecutive systematic reviews—by the American Pain Society in 2009, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2014, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016—brought to light the mounting evidence for adverse outcomes associated with long-term opioid use, as well as the paucity of evidence for long-term benefit.


Opioid Chronic pain Chronic non-cancer pain Chronic non-terminal pain 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Kenneth S. Tseng and Lucy L. Chen declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pain Management Center at MGH, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain MedicineMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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