Brief review: Obstetric care and perioperative analgesic management of the addicted patient
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PURPOSE: Addiction to alcohol and illicit drugs occurs in approximately 10% of the Canadian population and thus likely affects numerous perioperative patients. Provision of perioperative analgesia to these patients is challenging for physiological and behavioural reasons. Seven electronic databases were searched to identify papers addressing the perioperative management of analgesia in addicted patients. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: There are few controlled trials on addiction care in obstetrical management, and controlled trials are lacking in obstetrical analgesia and addiction and in perioperative analgesia and addiction. The focus of the limited number of publications in the obstetrical population is on addiction management during pregnancy and does not address analgesic requirements. There are principle-based discussions on factors affecting analgesic management in patients receiving chronic opioid therapy and multimodal analgesic therapy. This discourse includes consideration of the physiological and affective factors that impact perioperative management. A number of empirically derived protocols available for managing alcohol withdrawal are based on response to the physical manifestations of withdrawal. Protocols for management of patients receiving opioid replacement therapy for opioid addiction are also well described. Nevertheless, evaluations of these protocols are lacking in clinical trials, and the impact of addiction on perioperative outcomes is unknown. CONCLUSION: Perioperative analgesic management of addicted patients remains poorly understood. Most clinical trials specifically exclude addicted patients. Suggestions for management are provided.
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