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analgesia

The Canadian Spine Surgeon’s Perspective: Avoiding Opioid Use in Spine Patients

Teaser: 

Alexandra Stratton, MD, MSc, FRCSC,1
Dr. Darren Roffey, PhD,2
Dr. Erica Stone, MD, FRCPC,3
Mohamed M. El Koussy, BSc,4
Dr. Eugene Wai, MD,5

1Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon, University of Ottawa Combined Adult Spinal Surgery Program, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON.
2University of Ottawa Spine Program, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON.
3Anesthesiology, PGY 6 Pain Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON.
4Clinical Research Assistant, University of Ottawa Combined Adult Spinal Surgery Program, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON.
5is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the care of adult spinal disorders. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Ottawa. In addition he is the Research Chair for the Canadian Spine Society. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec, Laval University, QC.

CLINICAL TOOLS

Abstract: Opioids are drugs with pain relieving properties; however, there is evidence that opioids are no more effective than non-opioid medications in treating low back pain (LBP), and opioid use results in higher adverse events and worse surgical outcomes. First line treatment should emphasize non-pharmacological modalities including education, self-care strategies, and physical rehabilitation. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are generally considered an appropriate introduction into pharmacological treatment when deemed necessary. Non-opioid adjunct medications can be considered for specific features related to LBP such as neuropathic leg pain. Primary care providers should exhaust first and second line treatments before considering low-dose opioids, and only then in consultation with evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
Key Words: Pharmacological; low back pain; radiculopathy; opioids; analgesia.

Members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada may claim MAINPRO-M2 Credits for this unaccredited educational program.

www.cfpc.ca/Mainpro_M2

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1. First line treatment for low back and radicular leg pain is non-pharmacological.
2. Second line treatment includes NSAIDs (with or without proton pump inhibitor), and muscle relaxants (3 weeks maximum), gabapentinoids and antidepressants.
3. Exhausting non-opioid analgesics includes trialing different medications within the same class and at different doses since many of these medications have wide therapeutic dose ranges.
A "start low and go slow" approach is recommended for initiating pharmacological treatments for low back and radicular leg pain, especially when using neuroleptics and antidepressants.
When treating low back pain with neuropathic leg pain, patients who fail a trial of pregabalin may tolerate gabapentin, or vice versa.
Antidepressants have a role in managing low back pain, particularly chronic, even in the absence of mood disorder.
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Prescribing Opioids to Older Adults: A Guide to Choosing and Switching Among Them

Prescribing Opioids to Older Adults: A Guide to Choosing and Switching Among Them

Teaser: 

Marc Ginsburg, RN, MScN, NP, Medical Student, University of Sint Eustatius School of Medicine, Sint Eustatius, Netherlands-Antilles.
Shawna Silver, MD, PEng, Resident, Department of Pediatrics, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Hershl Berman, MD, FRCPC, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto; Staff Physician, Department of Medicine, University Health Network; Associated Medical Services Fellow in End-of-Life Care Education, University of Toronto; Centre for Innovation In Complex Care, University Health Network, Toronto, ON.

The use of opioid medications and converting among them in the older adult population can often be challenging. Physiological changes in older adults may affect metabolism and cognitive abilities. Due to renally cleared metabolites, some opioids, such as morphine, should be used with caution among older adults. Others, such as meperidine, should never be used at all. When prescribing or changing opioids, the choice of the correct formulation, appropriate counselling, and close follow-up are essential for optimal pain management and in order to prevent adverse outcomes.
Key words: opioids, pain management, older adults, analgesia, opioid conversion.

Acute Low Back Pain:A Clinical Experience with Acupuncture

Acute Low Back Pain:A Clinical Experience with Acupuncture

Teaser: 


Sanjeev Rastogi, MD, CAc, Consulting Physician and Lecturer, Government Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Handia, Allahabad, India.
Rajieev Rastogi, MBSc, BNYS, Assistant Director (Naturopathy), Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, New Delhi, India.

Acute low back pain (ALBP) is a common condition that results in huge economic losses in the form of treatment and absenteeism (direct monitary loss for incurring the treatment and indirect monitary loss resulting from absence). It responds well to conservative therapy, but it often takes a period of between one and three months before improvement is seen. Acupuncture has its effect in pain reduction in various musculoskeletal conditions including ALBP. As is observed in the present case, this technique can reduce the recovery period in these patients and, thus, can improve the net outcome.
Key words: acute low back pain, acupuncture, conservative management, recovery period, analgesia.

Treatment of Pain in the Older Adult

Treatment of Pain in the Older Adult

Teaser: 


Hershl Berman, MD, FRCPC, Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, University Health Network, Toronto, ON.
Shawna Silver, BASc, PEng, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.

Pain in the older adult can present unique challenges. Cognitive impairment and polypharmacy can make assessment and treatment difficult. An interdisciplinary team that includes family caregivers is essential. A rational approach to the ambulatory older patient with nociceptive pain would be to begin with regularly dosed acetaminophen, then add an NSAID if appropriate. The next step would be to add a low-dose opioid. If the patient uses a sufficient quantity of the opiate, dosing should be spread out throughout the day. Once a stable dose is reached, one can use a sustained-release formulation. Nonopioids should be continued throughout the titration process.
Key words: pain, analgesia, opioids, older adult, pain assessment.

A Review of Pain and Analgesia in Older Adults

A Review of Pain and Analgesia in Older Adults

Teaser: 

Conan Kornetsky, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.

There is a common belief, supported by considerable experimental reports, that the aged have higher pain thresholds than the young and are more responsive to the analgesic actions of opiate drugs. To a considerable degree this belief shapes pain treatment in aged adults. This article reviews the evidence for this belief and discusses why there is often a disparity between the reported alleviation of pain in older adults and the widely held belief that these individuals receive inadequate pain management. Among the issues discussed is the amount of control the patient really has in patient-controlled analgesia.

Key words: pain, aged, analgesia, pain measurement, morphine.