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Back Pain Library

 
 
 

How to deal with breakthrough pain when using opioid medications

Written by: Joanne Zeis
Reviewed by: Kevin L. Zacharoff, MD, September 2014

How to deal with breakthrough pain when using opioid medications

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1

James’s story

2

Breakthrough pain

3

What not to do when you have breakthrough pain

4

Breakthrough pain is often treatable

5

What to do when you have breakthrough pain

6

A summary of James’s story



Learning goals

Health care providers prescribe opioid pain medications for people who have moderate to severe long-term problems with pain. The medicine often works well, but sometimes “breakthrough pain” causes unexpected trouble. In this lesson, you will learn about breakthrough pain.

  • You will learn why it’s dangerous to change the amount of medication that you take, without the direction of your health care provider first.

  • You will learn about the importance of staying in touch with your treatment team

  • You will learn some things you can do in case your medication does not work