Opioid rotation with extended-release opioids: where should we begin?
International Clinical Research Institute and Pain Management Institute, Overland Park, KS, USA
Abstract: Opioid rotation is a common and necessary clinical practice in the management of chronic non-cancer pain to improve therapeutic efficacy with the lowest opioid dose. When dose escalations fail to achieve adequate analgesia or are associated with intolerable side effects, a trial of a new opioid should be considered. Much of the scientific rationale of opioid rotation is based on the wide interindividual variability in sensitivity to opioid analgesics and the novel patient response observed when introducing an opioid-tolerant patient to a new opioid. This article discusses patient indicators for opioid rotation, the conversion process between opioid medications, and additional practical considerations for increasing the effectiveness of opioid therapy during a trial of a new opioid. A Patient vignette that demonstrates a step-wise approach to opioid rotation is also presented.
Keywords: extended-release opioids, chronic pain, opioid rotation
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