With the change to the availability of codeine in Australia on 1 February 2018, many patients with chronic pain who have been using over-the-counter codeine are likely to present to their GPs. How should patients with chronic noncancer pain, including those dependent on codeine, be managed?
Pain is ubiquitous, experienced by every person at some time. Acute pain is a symptom, and treatment is usually short term and medically focused. Acute pain may progress in some cases to chronic persistent pain. Chronic pain has many possible causes, including cancer, congenital and degenerative diseases, trauma and surgery. Cancer pain differs clinically from chronic noncancer pain and is not further discussed here.
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