Letters Opioids for chronic non-cancer pain

Prescribe opioids for chronic non-cancer pain with care for the sake of patients and the community

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4495 (Published 16 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4495
  1. Simon M Holliday, general practitioner and staff specialist1,
  2. Malcolm D H Dobbin, public health physician and adjunct senior research fellow2
  1. 1Albert St Medical Centre and Drug and Alcohol Clinical Services, Hunter New England Local Health District, Taree, NSW 2430, Australia
  2. 2Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  1. simon.holliday{at}albertstmc.com

Freynhagen and colleagues describe the lack of scientific evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of long term opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.1 Nevertheless, opioids are now the most prescribed drug in the US, where oxycodone sales reached $3.1bn (£2.08bn; €2.42bn) in 2010.

The authors state that opioids are for moderate to severe pain …

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