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Author | Jennifer P. Schneider, MD, PhD

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Rational Use of Opioid Analgesics in Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

Throughout history, various forms of morphine have been the most effective medications in relieving pain. Opioid analgesics-the natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic derivatives of morphine-are used routinely in the management of acute musculoskeletal pain. However, myths and misunderstandings about these drugs often prevent primary care physicians from prescribing them for chronic pain, such as that seen in common musculoskeletal conditions (eg, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis [OA], osteoporosis, and low back pain [LBP]). Although pain is one of the most common symptoms that bring patients to the physician’s office, those with chronic musculoskeletal or other noncancer pain all too often are undertreated.