Can breakthrough pain be relieved with the use of narcotics?

There are many physicians that commonly prescribe various narcotic medications to help their patients find relief from the symptoms that are associated with breakthrough pain (BTP). Narcotics can help a great deal in relieving this type of pain, and the specific type you will be prescribed will depend largely on the type of pain that you are experiencing. Generally BTP comes on suddenly, it occurs without any warning, it can last for as long as 15 minutes or longer, and the pain the person feels from breakthrough pain is often excruciating.

One of the common problems that can occur when individuals take narcotic pain relievers for BTP is after a period of time, the body’s system often develops a tolerance to the medication being used. For this reason, many times the patient’s doctor will need to increase the dose they are currently taking, or switch to a different type of narcotic pain reliever. Although narcotic drugs can be very effective for breakthrough pain, this relief does not come without the risk of side effects. It is important to discuss the side effects, the drug interactions, and the benefits that are offered with the treatment options that are suggested to you.

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