The nature of opioid responsiveness and its implications for neuropathic pain: new hypotheses derived from studies of opioid infusions

Title

The nature of opioid responsiveness and its implications for neuropathic pain: new hypotheses derived from studies of opioid infusions

Creator

Portenoy RK; Foley KM; Inturrisi CE

Publisher

Pain

Date

1990

Subject

Female; Humans; Male; Pregnancy; Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support; Models; Dose-Response Relationship; Drug; Pain/physiopathology; Neurological; Hydromorphone/therapeutic use; Narcotics/therapeutic use; Nervous System Diseases/physiopathology

Description

In recent years, the observation that the response of patients to opioid drugs may be influenced by properties inherent in the pain or pain syndrome, such as its pathophysiology, has evolved into the belief that certain types of pain, e.g., neuropathic pains, may be unresponsive to these drugs. This concept has important implications for both clinical practice and basic understanding of opioid mechanisms. We critically evaluate opioid responsiveness, particularly as it relates to neuropathic pain, and propose a clinically relevant definition and a paradigm for its investigation. The paradigm is illustrated by analgesic responses to opioid infusion in 28 patients with neuropathic pains and by a detailed presentation of the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic relationships in one of these patients, whose central pain responded promptly to an infusion of hydromorphone. From this analysis, we hypothesize that (1) opioid responsiveness in man can be defined by the degree of analgesia achieved during dose escalation to either intolerable side effects or the occurrence of 'complete' or 'adequate' analgesia; (2) opioid responsiveness is a continuum, rather than a quantal phenomenon; (3) opioid responsiveness is determined by a diverse group of patient characteristics and pain-related factors, as well as drug-selective effects; and (4) a neuropathic mechanism may reduce opioid responsiveness, but does not result in an inherent resistance to these drugs. Given the complexity of factors contributing to opioid responsiveness and the observation that outcome cannot be reliably predicted, opioids should not be withheld on the assumption that pain mechanism, or any other factor, precludes a favorable response. Both the clinical use of opioids and paradigms to investigate opioid responsiveness should include dose escalation to maximally tolerated levels and repeated monitoring of analgesia and other effects.
1990

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

273-286

Issue

3

Volume

43

Citation

Portenoy RK; Foley KM; Inturrisi CE, “The nature of opioid responsiveness and its implications for neuropathic pain: new hypotheses derived from studies of opioid infusions,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed December 6, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/12538.

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