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December 12, 1980

Management of Cancer Pain With Parenteral Medication

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pharmacology and Anesthesia and the Lombardi Cancer Research Center, Georgetown University Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1980;244(23):2653-2657. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310230051029

ANALGESICS are most effective in the management of cancer pain when incorporated into a comprehensive regimen of total patient care. Such a regimen includes specific therapy for the cause of pain, which may be the cancer itself, some painful complication, or a nonmalignant intercurrent illness. Measures to decrease other sources of distress and improve the patient's general emotional state are also of great importance.

Oral analgesics or analgesic combinations should, when possible, be used in the management of chronic cancer pain.1,2 Oral analgesic administration offers simplicity and economy, avoids the discomforts and potential complications of repeated injections, makes the patient less dependent on others for his care, and may even obviate the need for hospitalization in some cases.

Parenteral administration is most often necessitated by the patient's inability to swallow or retain oral medication. Physicians also frequently resort to parenteral analgesics because of the apparent failure of oral medications