Update on prescription extended-release opioids and appropriate patient selection
Michael J Brennan
The Pain Center of Fairfield, Fairfield, CT, USA
Abstract: Chronic pain is largely underdiagnosed, often undertreated, and expected to increase as the American population ages. Many patients with chronic pain require long-term treatment with analgesic medications, and pain management may involve use of prescription opioids for patients whose pain is inadequately controlled through other therapies. Yet because of the potential for abuse and addiction, many clinicians hesitate to treat their patients with pain with potentially beneficial agents. Finding the right opioid for the right patient is the first – often complicated – step. Ensuring that patients continue to properly use the medication while achieving therapeutic analgesic effects is the long-term goal. Combined with careful patient selection and ongoing monitoring, new formulations using extended-release technologies incorporating tamper-resistant features may help combat the growing risk of abuse or misuse, which will hopefully reduce individual suffering and the societal burden of chronic pain. The objective of this manuscript is to provide an update on extended-release opioids and to provide clinicians with a greater understanding of which patients might benefit from these new opioid formulations and how to integrate the recommended monitoring for abuse potential into clinical practice.
Keywords: chronic pain, opioid analgesics, extended release, abuse prevention