Physicians have embraced the concept of long-term opioid treatment for chronic noncancer pain (CNCP), as evidenced by increased prescribing. Many patients have benefited from more liberal opioid prescribing, but many have not, and prescription opioid abuse has risen significantly coincident with increased prescribing. Because of the potentially serious adverse effects of opioids, physicians must balance potential benefits against risks, especially in individuals at risk for opioid misuse, abuse, or dependence. This article reviews long-term. continuons opioid treatment of CNCT, current treatment guidelines, addiction risk stratification, opioid-induced hyperalgesia, and endocrine dysfunction.
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