Chronic Pain: Managing Without Opioids

1 Hour | taught by David J. Tauben, MD

Course description

Treatment of chronic pain requires “multimodal analgesia,” a management plan that often requires pharmacological as well as nondrug therapies, and very importantly large measures of clinician

guided patient self-management. Chronic pain management should rarely, if ever, be opioid mono-therapy. Understanding the clinical role and value of non-opioids, the so called “adjuvant” drugs, improves outcomes and reduces over-reliance on opioids and their demonstrated risks. The conflation of chronic pain management with the prescription of opioids, often at high dose, has for the past 20 years overlooked long-established core tenets of multidisciplinary chronic pain care that is fundamentally about restoring function and enabling behavioral re-training; these are best and more safely accomplished without opioids and other central nervous system depressants.  Chronic pain is not a state of opioid deficiency.

You will learn:

  • Describe why chronic pain pharmacological treatment should not be opioid mono-therapy.
  • Defend the role and value of non-drug options for management of chronic pain.
  • Discuss the clinical value and potential side-effects of commonly used “adjuvant” drugs in the management of chronic pain, including anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.
  • Understand why, when, and how alternatives to opioids improve outcomes of your pain management plan 
David  J. Tauben, MD
David J. Tauben, MD
Chief, Clinical Professor​​, UW Division of Pain Medicine, USA

Dr. Tauben, Clinical Professor in Departments of Medicine and Anesthesia & Pain Medicine, board certified in Internal Medicine and Pain Medicine, directs UW Medical Student Pain Education, and is founder of UWTelePain, a video-conference providing education and support to UW Northwest regional primary care providers.  A principal investigator for the UW’s NIH Center of Excellence for Pain Education Dr. Tauben studied philosophy at Yale University, medicine at Tufts University, and medical residency at University of Washington.