Pain in Opioid-Addicted Patients Entering Addiction Treatment

Pain and addiction share some common physiologic pathways in the brain, especially those involving opioids, and each may affect the other. That is, the presence of pain may influence the development and course of opioid addiction, and vice versa (Compton and Gebhart 2003). These interactions may complicate therapy for opioid addiction. For example, opioid-addicted persons appear to have lower tolerance for and greater sensitivity to pain, and this may continue during addiction treatment. Sleep disorders and psychiatric illness often associated with addiction may increase the experience of pain and decrease the effectiveness of pain-relief interventions. Furthermore, opioid medications may lose their analgesic potency in many of these patients, so the management of their pain can be challenging (Compton and Gebhart 2003).


Author(s) Leavitt, S.B.
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