Opioid-induced hyperalgesia: Clinically relevant or extraneous research phenomenon?

D. Andrew Tompkins, Claudia M. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Opioids have become the unequivocal therapy of choice in treating many varieties of chronic pain. With the increased prescription of opioids, some unintended consequences have occurred. After prolonged opioid exposure, opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH), the paradoxical effect that opioid therapy may in fact enhance or aggravate preexisting pain, may occur. Over the past several decades, an increasing number of laboratory and clinical reports have suggested lowered pain thresholds and heightened atypical pain unrelated to the original perceived pain sensations as hallmarks of OIH. However, not all evidence supports the clinical importance of OIH, and some question whether the phenomenon exists at all. Here, we present a nonexhaustive, brief review of the recent literature. OIH will be reviewed in terms of preclinical and clinical evidence for and against its existence; recommendations for clinical evaluation and intervention also will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent pain and headache reports
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Keywords

  • Chronic pain
  • Individual differences
  • Opioid dependence
  • Opioid-induced hyperalgesia
  • Pain hypersensitivity
  • Quantitative sensory testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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