Opioid Rotation in Cancer Patients: Pros and Cons
April 01, 2005
Opioid rotation involves changing from one opioid to another usingcorrect equianalgesic conversion techniques to achieve better analgesiaand/or fewer side effects. The strategy appears to work because ofsignificant interindividual variations in response to both analgesic activityand toxicity. Although there are many retrospective studies, fewprospective controlled trials of opioid rotation have been published.The practical and theoretical advantages of opioid rotation includeimproved analgesia, reduced side effects, cost reduction, and improvedcompliance. Disadvantages include problems related to inaccurate conversiontables, limited availability of certain opioid formulations, druginteractions, and the possibility of increased expense. Weighing theadvantages and disadvantages is essential prior to making a decisionabout opioid rotation selection.