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Opioids for pain in Europe: Differing problems and differing solutions 

Opioids for pain in Europe: Differing problems and differing solutions
Opioids for pain in Europe: Differing problems and differing solutions

Cathy Stannard

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date: 22 July 2019

Opioids remain a major advance in pain medicine, but their power comes with responsibility. The prescription of opioid medicines has become a major policy issue in all nations across Europe. In this chapter of European Pain Management we offer a brief history of the use of opioids for pain, with a focus on how the modern challenges have developed, followed by a review of opioid prescribing across Europe, compared with that in North America. The harms of opioid use are reviewed, as are the barriers to their effective use in the European context. A working example from the United Kingdom is given, but a focus on the common experiences across Europe is maintained. The challenge for pain clinicians is always to offer the best treatment for the person with enduring and intrusive pain, but not at the cost of exposing a larger population of patients to harm.

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