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Invited Commentary
August 17, 2020

The Role of Opioids in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Chronic Breathlessness

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System
JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(10):1315-1316. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3133

In 1981, Woodcock and colleagues1 published the first clinical study of opioids for the management of breathlessness in severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They found that dihydrocodeine offered a short-term benefit but cautioned readers that “the risks of respiratory depression and addiction” necessitate careful monitoring and patient selection and that more studies were needed prior to “haphazard prescribing.”1(p1616)

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