Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters WHO analgesic ladder

WHO analgesic ladder gone astray: wider implications

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 04 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i589
  1. Michael H Basler, consultant in pain management,
  2. Paul W Keeley, consultant palliative physician
  1. Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow G4 0SF, UK
  1. Michael.Basler{at}

In the past the medical use of opioids has depended on many factors.1 Opioids are essential drugs that need to be safeguarded by appropriate use.2 Ballantyne and colleagues3 point out that the WHO analgesic ladder was developed for the …

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