Which opioids are used to treat chronic pain in sickle cell disease (SCD) and when is opioid dependence a concern?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Fentanyl and nalbuphine have also been used as continuous IV infusion. Ketorolac can be given along with opioid analgesics and typically reduces the opioid dose required to achieve the desired effect.

Opioid dependence may occur. It can result if a patient uses narcotics for euphoriant or stimulant effects rather than analgesia. Narcotic addiction in people with SCD is no more common than in the general population and may be minimized with a carefully designed analgesic regimen and maintenance of proper pain control.

When drug addiction with substance abuse is present, however, difficult management problems ensue. These require a team approach involving counselors, substance abuse specialists, hematologists, and pain management experts.

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