Opioid drugs are the most widely used drugs for the management of both acute and chronic pain. Side effects of opioids may, however, limit their use and concerns over drug dependence, misuse and abuse sets social boundaries on the use of opioids in chronic pain. Despite the pre-eminence of opioids in the analgesic field, the last 20 years has seen an explosion of basic science research into the mechanisms by which pain states are generated and maintained. Unfortunately, as far as the clinician is concerned, much of this research has generated more questions than answers. Progress in understanding the physiology and pathophysiology of pain has nevertheless allowed the development of treatment strategies that would not have lent themselves to empirical discovery.
- Adrenergic alpha-agonists
- Antidepressive agents