The European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC) are updating their guidelines on opioids for cancer pain.
As part of this review they have undertaken 22 systematic reviews of topics relating to opioid treatment in cancer pain. These are published in the journal Palliative Medicine July 2011 vol. 25 no. 5389-390 (pubmed).
While they do highlight the limits of research in this field, they do provide the most up to date and comprehensive review of what we know about the use and side effects of opioids.
In this special issue of Palliative Medicine, systematic reviews contributing to the development of the revised European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) guidelines on opioid analgesics for the management of cancer pain are published. This brief comment tries to put this quite unique collection of coordinated articles in the context of the overall guidelines project and to help readers to make the best use of them.
The European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) guidelines on opioid analgesics for the management of cancer pain were published in 1996 and 2001 and were seen as an evolution of the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, developing in detail the role of opioids in the analgesic ladder. The impact of WHO and EAPC guidelines on clinical practice and patient outcomes has never been demonstrated empirically, but it is likely that they had a profound influence.
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