July 1997 Bulletin

Don't fear opiates to manage pain

Physicians urged to expand knowledge of analgesics

Physicians must expand their knowledge of the types and uses of the opiates to improve the management of their patients' pain, says Peter Koo, PharmD, associate clinical professor of pharmacy specializing in pain management, University of California, San Francisco.

Koo says physicians are reluctant to use opiates because their medical training stressed caution and fear. The result is an increasing perception that physicians are not doing enough to manage their patients' pain when it is indicated. Koo reviewed a number of problems in pain management, including:

Koo stresses the need for a presurgical evaluation to determine a patient's requirements for both anesthesia and postoperative pain management. To improve pain management, Koo advises physicians to:

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