Biological rhythms in pain and in the effects of opioid analgesics

Title

Biological rhythms in pain and in the effects of opioid analgesics

Creator

Labrecque G; Vanier MC

Publisher

Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Date

1995

Subject

Humans; Analgesics; Animals; Circadian Rhythm/drug effects/physiology; Opioid/administration & dosage/therapeutic use; Pain/drug therapy/physiopathology

Description

Pain is difficult and sometimes frustrating to treat, even though new devices and new approaches have been developed in recent years. Pain varies tremendously from one patient to the next, and there are also some studies suggesting that the intensity of pain varies according to time of day. In animal experiments, a relationship between the reaction to pain and the rhythmicity of plasma endorphin concentrations was suggested because reactions to pain (such as jumping from a hot plate) were in phase with plasma endorphin levels: latencies were longest and plasma levels were highest during the resting period of rodents. In human studies, pain induced experimentally was reported to be maximal in the morning, or in the afternoon or at night. These divergent findings may be due to methodological differences, as pain was produced by different methods, many parameters were used to quantify pain intensity, and the psychological aspect of pain was rarely considered by authors. A circadian pattern of pain was found in patients suffering from pain produced by different diseases. For instance, highest toothache intensity occurred in the morning, while biliary colic, migraine, and intractable pain were highest at night. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis reported peak pain early in the morning, while those with osteoarthritis of the knee indicated that the maximal pain occurred at the end of the day. The effectiveness of opioids appears also to vary according to time of day, but large differences in the time of peak and low effects were found. Investigators found that peak pain intensity and narcotic demands occurred early in the morning, while others found maximal pain at the end of the day. Pain is a complex phenomenon and efforts should be made to standardize the methods used in studies and to describe accurately the diseases causing pain because the patterns of pain may be specific to each clinical situation. Further research should be aimed at characterizing the chronobiology of pain in different experimental and clinical situations and to determine when the analgesic drugs are producing maximal effectiveness. This information is needed before clinicians can be persuaded to use chronopharmacological data when they prescribe analgesic drugs to their patients.
1995

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Type

Journal Article

Citation List Month

Backlog

Pages

129-147

Issue

1

Volume

68

Citation

Labrecque G; Vanier MC, “Biological rhythms in pain and in the effects of opioid analgesics,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed November 30, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/12301.

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