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The challenge of perioperative pain management in opioid-tolerant patients

Authors Coluzzi F, Bifulco F, Cuomo A, Dauri M, Leonardi C, Melotti RM, Natoli S, Romualdi P, Savoia G, Corcione A

Received 8 May 2017

Accepted for publication 15 July 2017

Published 5 September 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1163—1173

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/TCRM.S141332

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Hoa Le

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh

Flaminia Coluzzi,1 Francesca Bifulco,2 Arturo Cuomo,2 Mario Dauri,3 Claudio Leonardi,4 Rita Maria Melotti,5 Silvia Natoli,3 Patrizia Romualdi,6 Gennaro Savoia,7 Antonio Corcione8

1Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, Unit of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Polo Pontino, Latina, 2National Cancer Institute “G Pascale” Foundation, Unit of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Naples, 3Department of Clinical Science and Translational Medicine, Tor Vergata University of Rome, 4Addiction Disease Department, Local Health Unit (ASL) Rome 2, Rome, 5Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, 6Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Bologna, 7Department Anesthesia, Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Naples, 8Unit of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Dei Colli Hospital, V. Monaldi, Naples, Italy

Abstract: The increasing number of opioid users among chronic pain patients, and opioid abusers among the general population, makes perioperative pain management challenging for health care professionals. Anesthesiologists, surgeons, and nurses should be familiar with some pharmacological phenomena which are typical of opioid users and abusers, such as tolerance, physical dependence, hyperalgesia, and addiction. Inadequate pain management is very common in these patients, due to common prejudices and fears. The target of preoperative evaluation is to identify comorbidities and risk factors and recognize signs and symptoms of opioid abuse and opioid withdrawal. Clinicians are encouraged to plan perioperative pain medications and to refer these patients to psychiatrists and addiction specialists for their evaluation. The aim of this review was to give practical suggestions for perioperative management of surgical opioid-tolerant patients, together with schemes of opioid conversion for chronic pain patients assuming oral or transdermal opioids, and patients under maintenance programs with methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone.

Keywords: opioids, postoperative pain, addiction, abusers, buprenorphine, methadone
 

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