Colson, J., Koyyalagunta, D., Falco, F.J., & Manchikanti, L. (2011). A systematic review of observational studies on the effectiveness of opioid therapy for cancer pain. Pain Physician, 14(2), E85–E102. Retrieved from http://www.painphysicianjournal.com/2011/march/2011;14;E85-E102.pdf
To assess current literature regarding the overall effectiveness of opioid therapy in cancer pain management
Studies involved a variety of opioid types and varied in terms of duration of follow-up, as the summaries that follow show.
This review identified evidence of moderate strength, from observational studies, regarding the effectiveness of opioids as a treatment for cancer pain. Authors strongly recommend opioids, by various routes, for the management of cancer-related pain.
Authors note that further evidence is needed in the areas of dose response and treatment for breakthrough pain.
Opioids by various routes remain the mainstay of cancer-pain management. Some evidence suggests that the addition of an NSAID can improve results and that use of fentanyl formulated for rapid onset and short duration is effective and well tolerated for breakthrough pain. Additional research in breakthrough pain is needed.