ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Opioid Therapy for Chronic Noncancer Pain - Cochrane for Clinicians
ABSTRACT: Diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain affects the functionality, mood, and sleep patterns of approximately 10 to 20 percent of patients with diabetes mellitus. Treatment goals include restoring function and improving pain control. Patients can realistically expect a 30 to 50 percent reduction in discomfort with improved functionality. The main classes of agents used to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain include tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, opiates and opiate-like substances, and topical medications. Physicians should ask patients whether they have tried complementary and alternative medicine therapies for their pain. Only two medications are approved specifically for the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain: pregabalin and duloxetine. However, evidence supports the use of other therapies, and unless there are contraindications, tricyclic antidepressants are the first-line treatment. Because patients often have multiple comorbidities, physicians must consider potential adverse effects and possible drug interactions before prescribing a medication.
Guidelines from the American Geriatric Society Target Management of Chronic Pain in Older Persons - Special Medical Reports
Managing Pain in the Dying Patient - Article
ABSTRACT: End-of-life care can be a challenge requiring the full range of a family physician's skills. Significant pain is common but is often undertreated despite available medications and technology. Starting with an appropriate assessment and following recommended guidelines on the use of analgesics, family physicians can achieve successful pain relief in nearly 90 percent of dying patients. Physicians must overcome their own fears about using narcotics and allay similar fears in patients, families and communities. Drugs such as corticosteroids, antidepressants and anticonvulsants can also help to alleviate pain. Anticonvulsants can be especially useful in relieving neuropathic pain. Side effects of pain medications should be anticipated and treated promptly, but good pain control should be maintained. The physical, psychologic, social and spiritual needs of dying patients are best managed with a team approach. Home visits can provide comfort and facilitate the doctor-patient relationship at the end of life.
Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis - Article
ABSTRACT: Knee osteoarthritis is a common disabling condition that affects more than one-third of persons older than 65 years. Exercise, weight loss, physical therapy, intra-articular corticosteroid injections, and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and braces or heel wedges decrease pain and improve function. Acetaminophen, glucosamine, ginger, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), capsaicin cream, topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acupuncture, and tai chi may offer some benefit. Tramadol has a poor trade-off between risks and benefits and is not routinely recommended. Opioids are being used more often in patients with moderate to severe pain or diminished quality of life, but patients receiving these drugs must be carefully selected and monitored because of the inherent adverse effects. Intra-articular corticosteroid injections are effective, but evidence for injection of hyaluronic acid is mixed. Arthroscopic surgery has been shown to have no benefit in knee osteoarthritis. Total joint arthroplasty of the knee should be considered when conservative symptomatic management is ineffective.
ABSTRACT: Acute low back pain is one of the most common reasons for adults to see a family physician. Although most patients recover quickly with minimal treatment, proper evaluation is imperative to identify rare cases of serious underlying pathology. Certain red flags should prompt aggressive treatment or referral to a spine specialist, whereas others are less concerning. Serious red flags include significant trauma related to age (i.e., injury related to a fall from a height or motor vehicle crash in a young patient, or from a minor fall or heavy lifting in a patient with osteoporosis or possible osteoporosis), major or progressive motor or sensory deficit, new-onset bowel or bladder incontinence or urinary retention, loss of anal sphincter tone, saddle anesthesia, history of cancer metastatic to bone, and suspected spinal infection. Without clinical signs of serious pathology, diagnostic imaging and laboratory testing often are not required. Although there are numerous treatments for nonspecific acute low back pain, most have little evidence of benefit. Patient education and medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, and muscle relaxants are beneficial. Bed rest should be avoided if possible. Exercises directed by a physical therapist, such as the McKenzie method and spine stabilization exercises, may decrease recurrent pain and need for health care services. Spinal manipulation and chiropractic techniques are no more effective than established medical treatments, and adding them to established treatments does not improve outcomes. No substantial benefit has been shown with oral steroids, acupuncture, massage, traction, lumbar supports, or regular exercise programs.
Labor Analgesia - Article
ABSTRACT: Regional analgesia has become the most common method of pain relief used during labor in the United States. Epidural and spinal analgesia are two types of regional analgesia. With epidural analgesia, an indwelling catheter is directed into the epidural space, and the patient receives a continuous infusion or multiple injections of local anesthetic. Spinal injections are usually single injections into the intrathecal space. A combination of epidural and spinal analgesia, known as a walking epidural, also is available. This technique combines the rapid pain relief from the spinal regional block with the constant and consistent effects from the epidural block. It allows sufficient motor function for patients to ambulate. Complications with regional analgesia are uncommon, but may include postdural puncture headache. Rare serious complications include neurologic injury, epidural hematoma, or deep epidural infection. Regional analgesia increases the risk of instrument-assisted vaginal delivery, and family physicians should understand the contraindications and risks of complications. Continuous labor support (e.g., doula), systemic opioid analgesia, pudendal blocks, water immersion, sterile water injections into the lumbosacral spine, self-taught hypnosis, and acupuncture are other options for pain management during labor.
ABSTRACT: Opioid prescribing for chronic nonterminal pain has increased in recent years, although evidence for its long-term effectiveness is weak and its potential for harm is significant. Nonmedical use of prescription opioids, diversion, and overdose deaths have also increased sharply, sparking concern about the safety of these medications. Physicians considering initiation or continuation of opioid therapy for a patient with chronic nonterminal pain should first use a structured approach that includes a biopsychosocial evaluation and a treatment plan that encourages patients to set and reach functional goals. There should be a comprehensive evaluation for the cause of pain, assessment for risk of opioid complications (including misuse and addiction), and a detailed treatment history, including a review of medical records and data from the state prescription monitoring program. Opioids should be prescribed on a trial basis, to be continued only if progress toward functional goals is demonstrated. Long-acting morphine is the preferred initial drug, although several alternatives are available. Ongoing monitoring for safety and effectiveness is essential, including regular review of functional progress or maintenance, urine drug testing, and surveillance of data from the state prescription monitoring program. Ineffective, unsafe, or diverted opioid therapy should be promptly tapered or stopped.
Pharmacologic Therapy for Acute Pain - Article
ABSTRACT: The approach to patients with acute pain begins by identifying the underlying cause and a disease-specific treatment. The first-line pharmacologic agent for the symptomatic treatment of mild to moderate pain is acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The choice between these two medications depends on the type of pain and patient risk factors for NSAID-related adverse effects (e.g., gastrointestinal, renovascular, or cardiovascular effects). Different NSAIDs have similar analgesic effects. However, cyclooxygenase-2 selective NSAIDs (e.g., celecoxib) must be used with caution in patients with cardiovascular risk factors and are more expensive than nonselective NSAIDs. If these first-line agents are not sufficient for mild to moderate pain, medications that target separate pathways simultaneously, such as an acetaminophen/opioid combination, are reasonable choices. Severe acute pain is typically treated with potent opioids. At each step, adjuvant medications directed at the underlying condition can be used. Newer medications with dual actions (e.g., tapentadol) are also an option. There is little evidence that one opioid is superior for pain control, but there are some pharmacologic differences among opioids. Because of the growing misuse and diversion of controlled substances, caution should be used when prescribing opioids, even for short-term treatment. Patients should be advised to properly dispose of unused medications.