How should opioid equivalents be used in the treatment of acute pain?

Updated: Jan 29, 2018
  • Author: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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See the list below:

  • Assess the pain level before initiating therapy.

  • For mild pain, the starting regimen should be a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or acetaminophen.

  • For moderate pain, an opioid agonist (eg, hydrocodone, oxycodone) can be used. An NSAID or acetaminophen may be used in conjunction, when appropriate.

  • For severe pain, a higher potency opioid agonist (eg, hydromorphone, morphine, fentanyl) can be used.

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