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Medical News and Perspectives
May 14, 2003

Experts Debate Widening Use of Opioid Drugs for Chronic Nonmalignant Pain

JAMA. 2003;289(18):2347-2348. doi:10.1001/jama.289.18.2347

Chicago—The long-term use of opioids for treating chronic nonmalignant pain is a practice that has emerged from the shadows in recent years—but the practice is not without a chorus of critics.

At conferences such as the American Pain Society's annual scientific meeting here in March and through marketing efforts of opioid manufacturers, many clinicians are getting the message that these drugs are an effective therapy for chronic, noncancer pain. Proponents say it is high time that physicians move beyond the stigma attached to opiate use and worries about addiction and recognize the drugs' value for patients with intractable pain.

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