Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I'm surprised at how quickly and easily it was to get strong narcotic drugs for my mother when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I thought these were strongly regulated.

The regulation of narcotics such as opioid therapy for cancer pain has been softened since the late 1990s. There just wasn't enough evidence to support the idea that opioid treatment always led to severe addictions. And there were many chronic pain patients (including cancer patients) who really needed to benefit of these medications. Studies showed that opioid use was helpful in controlling pain in the short-term. We still don't know for sure about the effectiveness of opioids for long-term use. More studies are clearly needed in this area. For cancer patients with a limited life expectancy, pain control and comfort become central issues. The concern for dependence and addiction take a back seat to quality of life. The goal is to provide helpful pain relief without adding unpleasant side effects.


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