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pain modulation, opioid use, alternative medical therapies, opioid alternative, chronic pain management







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Chronic pain, which can potentially develop from acute pain, subacute pain, or breakthrough pain, is generally defined as pain persisting for greater than three months with minimal relief. Chronic pain can be associated with a myriad of medical conditions. It is also one of the most common causes of disability, physical suffering, depression, and reduced quality of life. Treatment can vary depending on the underlying pathophysiology and can involve physical therapy, non-pharmaceutical approaches, pharmaceutical drugs, and invasive procedures. Currently available pharmaceutical agents have been effective for short-term management of chronic pain conditions, but few options address chronic pain with long-term efficacy. Firstline pharmaceutical agents can potentially include over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription-strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which have been linked to numerous side effects. If chronic pain persists, steroids are frequently used to provide longer relief. For more progressive or resistant chronic pain and/or in conjunction with invasive procedures, opioids have been utilized for acute treatment and for long-term maintenance. While these agents have proven to be effective for both acute and long-term use due to their modulation at various peripheral and central opioid receptors, they can be associated with numerous side effects and tied to the risk of addiction. As such, an unmet need exists to identify treatment modalities that provide opioid-like pain relief without opioid-induced adverse effects and the potential for addiction. This narrative review will provide an overview of the currently available treatment modalities for chronic pain and their adverse event profiles, as well as a review of therapies that are currently in development and/or preclinical trials for the management and treatment of chronic pain.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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