Cancer Pain pp 69-88 | Cite as

Drug Therapy

  • Mark Swerdlow
  • Vittorio Ventafridda


Aspirin and paracetamol (acetominophen) are the commonly available non-opioid analgesics for the management of mild to moderate pain (Table 2). These compounds have peripheral mechanisms of action. Aspirin is especially beneficial in metastatic bone pain where commonly there is a high local concentration of prostaglandin produced by the tumour cells. Aspirin provides pain relief by blocking prostaglandin biosynthesis; it also has anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects. In patients with bone pain who are intolerant of aspirin, one of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) commonly used in arthritic conditions should be considered (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, indomethacin). Repeat doses of NSAID give a plateau effect beyond which increasing amounts produce little or no additional relief.


Opioid Analgesic Oral Morphine Opioid Drug Cancer Pain Management Morphine Sulphate 
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Recommended reading

  1. 1.
    Cancer Pain Relief (1986) (Geneva: WHO)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Swerdlow, M. (ed.) (1986). The Therapy of Pain. 2nd Edn. ( Lancaster: MTP Press ).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Twycross, R. W. and Lack, S. A. (1983). Symptom Control in Advanced Cancer: Pain Relief. ( London: Pitman).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Saunders, C. M. (ed.) (1984). The Management of Terminal Disease. ( London: Edward Arnold ).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Twycross, R. G. and Ventafridda, V. (eds.) (1980). The Continuing Care of Terminal Cancer Patients. ( Oxford: Pergamon Press ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© MTP Press Limited 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Swerdlow
    • 1
  • Vittorio Ventafridda
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Regional Pain Relief Centre, Hope HospitalUniversity of Manchester School of MedicineSalfordUK
  2. 2.Division of Pain TherapyNational Cancer InstituteMilanItaly
  3. 3.WHO Collaborating Centre for Cancer Pain ReliefMilanItaly

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