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Principles & Practice of Pain Medicine, 2e
Part VI. Pain Therapies
A. Pharmacologic Treatments
Chapter 60. Common Opioid-Related Side Effects
Scott M. Fishman, Joseph Condon, and Mark Holtsman
Common Opioid-Related Side Effects: Introduction
opioid analgesics; opioids.
This chapter discusses the special set of potential opioid-related complications. Objective signs and symptoms of chronic pain are hard to ascertain, whereas opioid use is associated with concrete signs and symptoms that may act as markers for opioid side effects. Most commonly, opioids produce constipation, nausea, vomiting, sedation, and respiratory depression. Any adverse effects from opioids may significantly limit therapy, and some can present with life-threatening consequences. Unfortunately, there are few predictors of which patients will experience which side effects and which particular opioids will produce them. It is sensible to expect side effects and to take preventive action. Since not all opioid-related toxicity can be predicted or prevented, patients should be closely followed with a high level of suspicion. Effective management includes anticipation of adverse effects when possible, use of preventive measures, and choosing the best medication with the optimum method of administration. Clear communication with the patient, family, or nurse to ensure prompt recognition and response to adverse effects is of utmost importance in order to recognize and prevent possible adverse effects of opioid treatment...."
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