Author | Susan B. Legrand, MD, FACP

Articles

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.

Opioids in Cancer Pain: Common Dosing Errors

April 01, 2003

Many individuals with advanced malignancy continue to sufferfrom pain and, consequently, impaired quality of life. The clinicalscenarios in advanced cancer pain are complex, and successful managementmay require a more sophisticated and individualized approachthan suggested by the World Health Organization guidelines.In patients referred to the Harry R. Horvitz Center for PalliativeMedicine in Cleveland, numerous commonly occurring errors inopioid use have been noted. This article describes these errors andoffers strategies with which to improve outcomes for patients sufferingwith cancer pain.