Intrathecal opioid therapy for pain: Efficacy and outcomes

Wolfhard Winkelmuller, Kim Burchiel, Jean Pierre Van Buyten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Although opioid therapy has been accepted for the treatment of patients with cancer pain, its use for nonmalignant pain is still regarded as controversial due to concerns about the development of tolerance and psychological dependence. However, recent studies indicate that there is a low incidence of addiction in patients who do not have a history of addictive disorders, and opioid use is increasing for long-term treatment in patients with nonmalignant pain. This paper reviews the results from recent studies that evaluated the efficacy of intrathecal opioid delivery using a number of outcome measures. These studies demonstrate that intrathecal opioid delivery produces short-term relief of specific symptoms and improves long-term outcomes such as patient functioning (measured by increases in activities of daily living [ADLs] and capacity to work), mood, treatment satisfaction, and quality of life, as well as decreases in oral opioid use. Furthermore, these studies showed there was no development of tolerance or addiction in patients who received long-term intrathecal opioid delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Cancer pain
  • Intraspinal
  • Intrathecal
  • Morphine
  • Nonmalignant pain
  • Opioid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Intrathecal opioid therapy for pain: Efficacy and outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this