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Papers of the Week

2019 Sep 02

Int J Palliat Nurs



Opioid use disorder and chronic pain: challenges for palliative care practice.


Peters-Watral B
Int J Palliat Nurs. 2019 Sep 02; 25(9):453-457.
PMID: 31585059.


Along with a well-documented increase in opioid use disorder (OUD) and a rapidly escalating rate of fatal overdose in North America, inadequate management of chronic pain remains a pervasive problem. The increasing number of individuals living with OUD also experience multiple cancer risk factors, which are related to their substance use, while people with cancer diagnoses have similar risks of current or past addiction as the general population. Recent pain guidelines focus on chronic non-cancer pain and do not include recommendations for cancer pain management. Managing cancer pain at the end of life is more challenging in people with current or past substance use disorder (SUD), especially OUD. Addressing these challenges requires confronting stigmas and stereotypes, building knowledge among palliative care providers and assessing the risks and benefits of opioids for pain management on an individual basis in order to continue to provide the holistic care.