Long-term opioid treatment can produce positive outcomes in chronic noncancer pain when physicians prescribe it carefully to individuals who have low risks for addiction and overdose, according to the results of a systematic review.
Andrea Furlan, MD, PhD, and her colleagues searched Medline, EMBASE, CINAHI, PsycINFO, Central and Business Source Premier for studies published since 2000 on function and quality of life (QOL) in patients taking long-term opioids for chronic noncancer pain.
The studies included in the analysis involved chronic noncancer pain that lasted longer than three months, opioid use for longer than three months, and outcomes that included measures of function and QOL. Most of the studies excluded patients who had comorbidities and psychiatric diagnoses. The majority of the patients were monitored closely by health care professionals, and were on doses of opioids that were less than approximately 200 mg per day.
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