Opioids: Basic Concepts in Clinical Practice

  • Geremy L. Sanders
  • Michael P. Sprintz
  • Ryan P. Ellender
  • Alecia L. Sabartinelli
  • Alan D. Kaye


For centuries, opioids have been utilized to relieve pain and suffering. In current practice, opiates are employed to provide analgesia arising from both acute and chronic conditions. Acutely, opioids are most commonly used to treat pain following injury, surgery, or labor and delivery. They are also used to treat discomfort arising from exacerbations of medical disorders. In addition, opiates have been used in lower doses to treat cough; and they can also be effective in causing constipation or treating diarrhea. It is important to remember, however, that opiates merely treat these symptoms; the underlying disease remains.


Chronic Pain Acute Pain Chronic Pain Patient Physical Dependence Opioid Therapy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abram SE, ed. Pain medicine. The requisites in anesthesiology. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby; 2006.Google Scholar
  2. Ballantyne JC, Fishman SM, Abdi S, eds. The Massachusetts General Hospital handbook of pain management. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 2009.Google Scholar
  3. Hardman JG, Limbird LE, Gilman AG, eds. Goodman and Gilman’s the pharmacological basis of therapeutics. 10th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2009.Google Scholar
  4. Krantz MJ, Martin J, Stimmel B. QTc interval screening in methadone treatment. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150(6):387–395.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Marcus DA, ed. Chronic pain: a primary care guide to practical management. New Jersey: Humana Press; 2005.Google Scholar
  6. Melzack R, Wall PD, eds. Handbook of pain management: a clinical companion to Wall and Melzack’s textbook of pain. London: Churchill-Livingstone; 2003.Google Scholar
  7. Ries R, Fiellin D, Miller S, Saitz R, eds. Principles of addiction medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 2009.Google Scholar
  8. Savage SR, Joranson DE, Covington ED, et al. Definitions related to the medical use of opioids – evolution of universal agreement. JPSM 2003;26(1):655–67.Google Scholar
  9. Thorn CF, Klein TE, Altman RB. Codeine and morphine pathway. Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2009;19(7):556–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Tollison CD, Satterthwaite JR, Tollison JW, eds. Practical pain management. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 2002.Google Scholar
  11. Warfield CA, Bajwa ZH, eds. Principles and practice of pain medicine. 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geremy L. Sanders
    • 1
  • Michael P. Sprintz
    • 2
  • Ryan P. Ellender
    • 3
  • Alecia L. Sabartinelli
    • 4
  • Alan D. Kaye
    • 3
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Louisiana State University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyAlton Ochsner Clinic and HospitalNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyLouisiana State University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  4. 4.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of Miami School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  5. 5.Interventional Pain ServicesLouisiana State University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  6. 6.Department of AnesthesiologyTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  7. 7.Department of PharmacologyTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA

Personalised recommendations