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2009 Clinical Guidelines from the American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine on the use of chronic opioid therapy in chronic noncancer pain: what are the key messages for clinical practice?

Roger Chou
Published online: July 01, 2009


Safe and effective chronic opioid therapy (COT) for chronic noncancer pain requires clinical skills and knowledge in both the principles of opioid prescribing and in the assessment and management of risks associated with opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion. The American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine commissioned a systematic review of the evidence on COT for chronic noncancer pain and convened a multidisciplinary expert panel to review the evidence and formulate recommendations based on the best available evidence. This article summarizes key clinical messages from this guideline regarding patient selection and risk stratification, informed consent and opioid management plans, initiation and titration of COT, use of methadone, monitoring of patients, use of opioids in high‑risk patients, assessment of aberrant drug‑related behaviors, dose escalations and high‑dose opioid therapy, opioid rotation, 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, and management of breakthrough pain.

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