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Drug Therapy for Severe, Chronic Pain in Terminal Illness

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▸Requests for reprints should be sent to Suzanne Stone; Department of Health and Public Policy, American College of Physicians, 4200 Pine Street; Philadelphia, PA 19104.

©1983 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1983;99(6):870-873. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-99-6-870
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Treatment of pain—mild or severe, acute or chronic—is a major component of medical practice. Acute pain is recognized as a useful symptom that alerts the patient and physician to a medical problem. Acute pain is relatively easy to treat; it sharpens and then lessens. Mild pain—even mild, chronic pain—also is relatively easy to treat. The medical profession is armed with a host of analgesic agents that are effective for mild to moderate pain; aspirin is well recognized as the most effective single analgesic for mild to moderate pain (1), and there are several other effective nonnarcotic analgesics.

Perhaps the most


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