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      European Pain Federation position paper on appropriate opioid use in chronic pain management

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          Abstract

          Poorly controlled pain is a global public health issue. The personal, familial and societal costs are immeasurable. Only a minority of European patients have access to a comprehensive specialist pain clinic. More commonly the responsibility for chronic pain management and initiating opioid therapy rests with the primary care physician and other non‐specialist opioid prescribers. There is much confusing and conflicting information available to non‐specialist prescribers regarding opioid therapy and a great deal of unjustified fear is generated. Opioid therapy should only be initiated by competent clinicians as part of a multi‐faceted treatment programme in circumstances where more simple measures have failed. Throughout, all patients must be kept under close clinical surveillance. As with any other medical therapy, if the treatment fails to yield the desired results and/or the patient is additionally burdened by an unacceptable level of adverse effects, the overall management strategy must be reviewed and revised. No responsible clinician will wish to pursue a failed treatment strategy or persist with an ineffective and burdensome treatment. In a considered attempt to empower and inform non‐specialist opioid prescribers, EFIC convened a European group of experts, drawn from a diverse range of basic science and relevant clinical disciplines, to prepare a position paper on appropriate opioid use in chronic pain. The expert panel reviewed the available literature and harnessed the experience of many years of clinical practice to produce these series of recommendations. Its success will be judged on the extent to which it contributes to an improved pain management experience for chronic pain patients across Europe.

          Significance

          This position paper provides expert recommendations for primary care physicians and other non‐ specialist healthcare professionals in Europe, particularly those who do not have ready access to specialists in pain medicine, on the safe and appropriate use of opioid medications as part of a multi‐faceted approach to pain management, in properly selected and supervised patients.

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          Most cited references 67

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          Survey of chronic pain in Europe: prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment.

          This large scale computer-assisted telephone survey was undertaken to explore the prevalence, severity, treatment and impact of chronic pain in 15 European countries and Israel. Screening interviews identified respondents aged 18 years with chronic pain for in-depth interviews. 19% of 46,394 respondents willing to participate (refusal rate 46%) had suffered pain for 6 months, had experienced pain in the last month and several times during the last week. Their pain intensity was 5 on a 10-point Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) (1 = no pain, 10 = worst pain imaginable) during last episode of pain. In-depth interviews with 4839 respondents with chronic pain (about 300 per country) showed: 66% had moderate pain (NRS = 5-7), 34% had severe pain (NRS = 8-10), 46% had constant pain, 54% had intermittent pain. 59% had suffered with pain for two to 15 years, 21% had been diagnosed with depression because of their pain, 61% were less able or unable to work outside the home, 19% had lost their job and 13% had changed jobs because of their pain. 60% visited their doctor about their pain 2-9 times in the last six months. Only 2% were currently treated by a pain management specialist. One-third of the chronic pain sufferers were currently not being treated. Two-thirds used non-medication treatments, e.g,. massage (30%), physical therapy (21%), acupuncture (13%). Almost half were taking non-prescription analgesics; 'over the counter' (OTC) NSAIDs (55%), paracetamol (43%), weak opioids (13%). Two-thirds were taking prescription medicines: NSAIDs (44%), weak opioids (23%), paracetamol (18%), COX-2 inhibitors (1-36%), and strong opioids (5%). Forty percent had inadequate management of their pain. Interesting differences between countries were observed, possibly reflecting differences in cultural background and local traditions in managing chronic pain. Chronic pain of moderate to severe intensity occurs in 19% of adult Europeans, seriously affecting the quality of their social and working lives. Very few were managed by pain specialists and nearly half received inadequate pain management. Although differences were observed between the 16 countries, we have documented that chronic pain is a major health care problem in Europe that needs to be taken more seriously.
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            Clinical guidelines for the use of chronic opioid therapy in chronic noncancer pain.

            Use of chronic opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain has increased substantially. The American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine commissioned a systematic review of the evidence on chronic opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain and convened a multidisciplinary expert panel to review the evidence and formulate recommendations. Although evidence is limited, the expert panel concluded that chronic opioid therapy can be an effective therapy for carefully selected and monitored patients with chronic noncancer pain. However, opioids are also associated with potentially serious harms, including opioid-related adverse effects and outcomes related to the abuse potential of opioids. The recommendations presented in this document provide guidance on patient selection and risk stratification; informed consent and opioid management plans; initiation and titration of chronic opioid therapy; use of methadone; monitoring of patients on chronic opioid therapy; dose escalations, high-dose opioid therapy, opioid rotation, and indications for discontinuation of therapy; prevention and management of opioid-related adverse effects; driving and work safety; identifying a medical home and when to obtain consultation; management of breakthrough pain; chronic opioid therapy in pregnancy; and opioid-related policies. Safe and effective chronic opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain requires clinical skills and knowledge in both the principles of opioid prescribing and on the assessment and management of risks associated with opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion. Although evidence is limited in many areas related to use of opioids for chronic noncancer pain, this guideline provides recommendations developed by a multidisciplinary expert panel after a systematic review of the evidence.
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              Opioids in chronic non-cancer pain: systematic review of efficacy and safety.

              Opioids are used increasingly for chronic non-cancer pain. Controversy exists about their effectiveness and safety with long-term use. We analysed available randomised, placebo-controlled trials of WHO step 3 opioids for efficacy and safety in chronic non-cancer pain. The Oxford Pain Relief Database (1950-1994) and Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were searched until September 2003. Inclusion criteria were randomised comparisons of WHO step 3 opioids with placebo in chronic non-cancer pain. Double-blind studies reporting on pain intensity outcomes using validated pain scales were included. Fifteen randomised placebo-controlled trials were included. Four investigations with 120 patients studied intravenous opioid testing. Eleven studies (1025 patients) compared oral opioids with placebo for four days to eight weeks. Six of the 15 included trials had an open label follow-up of 6-24 months. The mean decrease in pain intensity in most studies was at least 30% with opioids and was comparable in neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain. About 80% of patients experienced at least one adverse event, with constipation (41%), nausea (32%) and somnolence (29%) being most common. Only 44% of 388 patients on open label treatments were still on opioids after therapy for between 7 and 24 months. The short-term efficacy of opioids was good in both neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain conditions. However, only a minority of patients in these studies went on to long-term management with opioids. The small number of selected patients and the short follow-ups do not allow conclusions concerning problems such as tolerance and addiction.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                tony.obrien1@hse.ie
                Journal
                Eur J Pain
                Eur J Pain
                10.1002/(ISSN)1532-2149
                EJP
                European Journal of Pain (London, England)
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                1090-3801
                1532-2149
                19 December 2016
                January 2017
                : 21
                : 1 ( doiID: 10.1002/ejp.2017.21.issue-1 )
                : 3-19
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ] Marymount University Hospital & Hospice Curraheen Cork Ireland
                [ 2 ] Cork University Hospital Wilton, Cork and College of Medicine and Health University College Cork Ireland
                [ 3 ] Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology University of Copenhagen Denmark
                [ 4 ] Mech‐Sense Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology Aalborg University Hospital Denmark
                [ 5 ] Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre University of Edinburgh UK
                [ 6 ] Department of Special Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy Medical University of Vienna/AKH Austria
                [ 7 ] Balliol College Oxford UK
                [ 8 ] Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology University Hospital Heidelberg Germany
                [ 9 ] Leuven Centre for Algology & Pain Management University Hospital Leuven Belgium
                [ 10 ] Pain Functional Unit University Hospital HM Madrid Spain
                [ 11 ] Department of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine University Hospital Müenster Germany
                [ 12 ] Paolo Procacci Foundation Rome Italy
                [ 13 ] Pain Matters Ltd Liverpool UK
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence

                Tony O'Brien

                E‐mail: tony.obrien1@ 123456hse.ie

                Article
                EJP970
                10.1002/ejp.970
                6680203
                27991730
                © 2016 The Authors. European Journal of Pain published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Pain Federation ‐ EFIC ®

                This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 2, Pages: 17, Words: 11257
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: EFIC – European Federation of IASP Chapters
                Funded by: Norpharma
                Funded by: Pfizer
                Funded by: GW Pharmaceuticals
                Funded by: Archimedes
                Funded by: Astra Zeneca
                Funded by: Cephalon
                Funded by: Grunenthal
                Funded by: Janssen‐Cilag
                Funded by: Mundipharma
                Funded by: Roche
                Funded by: Teva
                Categories
                Position Paper
                Position Paper
                Custom metadata
                2.0
                ejp970
                January 2017
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_NLMPMC version:5.6.7 mode:remove_FC converted:05.08.2019

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

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