What are common misconceptions of opioid agonist therapy (OAT) is patients who need pain management?

Updated: Jun 21, 2018
  • Author: David W Dixon, DO; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Common misconceptions include the following:

  • OAT provides analgesia: Maintenance methadone or buprenorphine does not provide sustained analgesia. Although methadone and buprenorphine are potent analgesics, the analgesic properties last only 4-8 hours, while the medications are dosed every 24-48 hours.

  • Use of opioid analgesia may cause addiction relapse: No evidence indicates that exposure to opioid analgesics during acute pain increases relapse rates. In fact, evidence suggests that the stress of unrelieved pain can trigger relapse.

  • The combination of OAT and other opioids may cause respiratory depression: This is a theoretical risk that is not supported by clinical or empirical experience. Tolerance to respiratory and CNS depressant effects occurs rapidly and reliably.

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