PAE official statement

Opioids have been used for many years as a means of providing pain relief. Treating chronic pain with opioids has developed during recent years.  As a result, the use of opioids has become a topic of debate nowadays within medical society.

Pain Alliance Europe considers that, at European level, the use of opioids should remain one of the treatments that doctors can prescribe for pain. All physicians who envisage prescribing or continuing opioid treatment should ensure that first, they use a structured approach for each for a patient with chronic pain.  This would include a thorough evaluation and a treatment plan which would result in the identification and extent of practical goals. The situation of the chronic pain patient should be clearly evaluated; the risk of opioid complications should be analysed; and a complex treatment history should be taken into account as a basis, including a review of the patient’s medical records.

If the medical review of the patient indicates that opioid treatment is necessary, then it should be offered. Opioids should be prescribed on a trial basis, to be continued only if progress toward the practical goals that have been set is experienced.  Opioid medication should, therefore, be thoroughly regulated and controlled just like any other medication.

If treatment is found to be ineffective or unsafe, or should the patient be found to be misusing/abusing it, then opioid therapy should be stopped according to established procedures.

As a rule, the use of opioids should be limited to patients suffering from chronic pain, for whom accurate medical records are available, and who have a history of finding it effective.