Opioids and addiction

Cathy Stannard, Michael Coupe and Anthony Pickering

in Opioids in Non-Cancer Pain

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print March 2013 | ISBN: 9780199678075
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191757464 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Pain Management Library

Opioids and addiction

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  • Clinical Oncology
  • Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Pain Medicine


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The utility of existing definitions of addiction, dependence, and tolerance when prescribing opioids for pain are debated. The syndrome of addiction is characterized by changes in the brain’s motivational and reward circuitry. The prevalence of addiction to prescribed opioids has been variably reported. Prediction of the risk of addiction to prescribed opioids is difficult. Patients in pain with a past or current history of substance misuse can be managed with opioid drugs if given appropriate support and monitoring. Collaboration between the patient and all health care professionals with whom they are involved underpins safe prescribing of opioids.

Chapter.  7398 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Oncology ; Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics ; Pain Medicine

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