Evidence-based approaches for the treatment of opioid use disorder include the use of opioid medications (methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone), collectively referred to as medication-assisted therapy. Patients receiving medication-assisted therapy may present in the acute care setting with pain, often related to planned surgical procedures to treat health issues that were not addressed before entering treatment. Because these medications act on the same receptors as do analgesic opioids—and, in the cases of methadone and buprenorphine, have analgesic properties — managing acute pain in these patients can be challenging. Principles of effective pain management for these patients include continuing the usual medication-assisted therapy dose; using nonpharmacological and nonopioid pain management strategies as possible and immediate-release opioids, titrating to effect and monitoring for toxicity; anticipating tolerance and hyperalgesia; and establishing a collaborative treatment relationship with the medication-assisted therapy provider. Providing effective pain treatment supports ongoing recovery in patients with opioid use disorder.

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