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Opioids for cancer pain - an overview of Cochrane reviews. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews BACKGROUND:Pain is a common symptom with cancer, and 30% to 50% of all people with cancer will experience moderate to severe pain that can have a major negative impact on their quality of life. Opioid (morphine-like) drugs are commonly used to treat moderate or severe cancer pain, and are recommended for this purpose in the World Health Organization (WHO) pain treatment ladder. The most commonly-used opioid drugs are buprenorphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, tramadol, and tapentadol. OBJECTIVES:To provide an overview of the analgesic efficacy of opioids in cancer pain, and to report on adverse events associated with their use. METHODS:We identified systematic reviews examining any opioid for cancer pain published to 4 May 2017 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in the Cochrane Library. The primary outcomes were no or mild pain within 14 days of starting treatment, withdrawals due to adverse events, and serious adverse events. MAIN RESULTS:We included nine reviews with 152 included studies and 13,524 participants, but because some studies appeared in more than one review the number of unique studies and participants was smaller than this. Most participants had moderate or severe pain associated with a range of different types of cancer. Studies in the reviews typically compared one type of opioid or formulation with either a different formulation of the same opioid, or a different opioid; few included a placebo control. Typically the reviews titrated dose to effect, a balance between pain relief and adverse events. Various routes of administration of opioids were considered in the reviews; oral with most opioids, but transdermal administration with fentanyl, and buprenorphine. No review included studies of subcutaneous opioid administration. Pain outcomes reported were varied and inconsistent. The average size of included studies varied considerably between reviews: studies of older opioids, such as codeine, morphine, and methadone, had low average study sizes while those involving newer drugs tended to have larger study sizes.Six reviews reported a GRADE assessment (buprenorphine, codeine, hydromorphone, methadone, oxycodone, and tramadol), but not necessarily for all comparisons or outcomes. No comparative analyses were possible because there was no consistent placebo or active control. Cohort outcomes for opioids are therefore reported, as absolute numbers or percentages, or both.Reviews on buprenorphine, codeine with or without paracetamol, hydromorphone, methadone, tramadol with or without paracetamol, tapentadol, and oxycodone did not have information about the primary outcome of mild or no pain at 14 days, although that on oxycodone indicated that average pain scores were within that range. Two reviews, on oral morphine and transdermal fentanyl, reported that 96% of 850 participants achieved that goal.Adverse event withdrawal was reported by five reviews, at rates of between 6% and 19%. Participants with at least one adverse event were reported by three reviews, at rates of between 11% and 77%.Our GRADE assessment of evidence quality was very low for all outcomes, because many studies in the reviews were at high risk of bias from several sources, including small study size. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:The amount and quality of evidence around the use of opioids for treating cancer pain is disappointingly low, although the evidence we have indicates that around 19 out of 20 people with moderate or severe pain who are given opioids and can tolerate them should have that pain reduced to mild or no pain within 14 days. This accords with the clinical experience in treating many people with cancer pain, but overstates to some extent the effectiveness found for the WHO pain ladder. Most people will experience adverse events, and help may be needed to manage the more common undesirable adverse effects such as constipation and nausea. Perhaps between 1 in 10 and 2 in 10 people treated with opioids will find these adverse events intolerable, leading to a change in treatment. 10.1002/14651858.CD012592.pub2
Molecular mechanisms of opioid receptor-dependent signaling and behavior. Al-Hasani Ream,Bruchas Michael R Anesthesiology Opioid receptors have been targeted for the treatment of pain and related disorders for thousands of years and remain the most widely used analgesics in the clinic. Mu (μ), kappa (κ), and delta (δ) opioid receptors represent the originally classified receptor subtypes, with opioid receptor like-1 (ORL1) being the least characterized. All four receptors are G-protein coupled and activate inhibitory G proteins. These receptors form homo- and heterodimeric complexes and signal to kinase cascades and scaffold a variety of proteins.The authors discuss classic mechanisms and developments in understanding opioid tolerance and opioid receptor signaling and highlight advances in opioid molecular pharmacology, behavioral pharmacology, and human genetics. The authors put into context how opioid receptor signaling leads to the modulation of behavior with the potential for therapeutic intervention. Finally, the authors conclude there is a continued need for more translational work on opioid receptors in vivo. 10.1097/ALN.0b013e318238bba6
Historical Review: Opiate Addiction and Opioid Receptors. Cell transplantation Substance use disorders (SUDs), defined as a collection of symptoms including tolerance and withdrawal, are chronic illnesses characterized by relapse and remission. In the United States, billions of dollars have been lost due to SUDs. In the past 30 years, effective medications and behavioral interventions have played a major role in preventing relapse and facilitating longer periods of abstinence. From the late 1990s to the present, the opioid epidemic or opioid crisis in the United States has raised public awareness of SUDs. Methadone, buprenorphine, and naloxone have proven their effectiveness in treating addicted individuals, and each of them has different effects on different opioid receptors. Methadone and buprenorphine target mu opioid receptors (MORs) in the brain to treat opioid dependence by reducing withdrawal and craving, whereas naloxone is an opioid antagonist used to treat opioid overdose. Mu, kappa, and delta are opioid receptor subtypes with common analgesic effects, and each also has unique effects and distribution in the brain. MORs in distinct brain regions, such as the nucleus accumbens and basolateral amygdala, trigger the euphoria and incentive properties of rewarding stimuli. Kappa opioid receptors can trigger anti-reward effects and produce dysphoric effects. Delta opioid receptors can induce anxiolytic effects. Though effective medications are available, relapse is still common due to neurobiological changes in brain pathways and tolerance of opioid receptors with repeated abuse of substances. In this article, I summarize the biological mechanisms of opioid dependence and opioid receptors and review previous articles about medications used to treat SUDs and their clinical effects. 10.1177/0963689718811060
Regulation of μ-opioid receptors: desensitization, phosphorylation, internalization, and tolerance. Williams John T,Ingram Susan L,Henderson Graeme,Chavkin Charles,von Zastrow Mark,Schulz Stefan,Koch Thomas,Evans Christopher J,Christie Macdonald J Pharmacological reviews Morphine and related µ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonists remain among the most effective drugs known for acute relief of severe pain. A major problem in treating painful conditions is that tolerance limits the long-term utility of opioid agonists. Considerable effort has been expended on developing an understanding of the molecular and cellular processes that underlie acute MOR signaling, short-term receptor regulation, and the progression of events that lead to tolerance for different MOR agonists. Although great progress has been made in the past decade, many points of contention and controversy cloud the realization of this progress. This review attempts to clarify some confusion by clearly defining terms, such as desensitization and tolerance, and addressing optimal pharmacological analyses for discerning relative importance of these cellular mechanisms. Cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating MOR function by phosphorylation relative to receptor desensitization and endocytosis are comprehensively reviewed, with an emphasis on agonist-biased regulation and areas where knowledge is lacking or controversial. The implications of these mechanisms for understanding the substantial contribution of MOR signaling to opioid tolerance are then considered in detail. While some functional MOR regulatory mechanisms contributing to tolerance are clearly understood, there are large gaps in understanding the molecular processes responsible for loss of MOR function after chronic exposure to opioids. Further elucidation of the cellular mechanisms that are regulated by opioids will be necessary for the successful development of MOR-based approaches to new pain therapeutics that limit the development of tolerance. 10.1124/pr.112.005942
Mu and delta opioid receptor knockout mice show increased colonic sensitivity. Reiss D,Ceredig R A,Secher T,Boué J,Barreau F,Dietrich G,Gavériaux-Ruff C European journal of pain (London, England) BACKGROUND:Opiates act through opioid receptors to diminish pain. Here, we investigated whether mu (MOR) and delta (DOR) receptor endogenous activity assessed in the whole mouse body or in particular at peripheral receptors on primary nociceptive neurons, control colonic pain. METHODS:We compared global MOR and DOR receptor knockout (KO) mice, mice with a conditional deletion of MOR and DOR in Nav1.8-positive nociceptive primary afferent neurons (cKO), and control floxed mice of both genders for visceral sensitivity. Visceromotor responses to colorectal distension (CRD) and macroscopic colon scores were recorded on naïve mice and mice with acute colitis induced by 3% dextran sodium sulphate (DSS) for 5 days. Transcript expression for opioid genes and cytokines was measured by quantitative RT-PCR. RESULTS:Naïve MOR and DOR global KO mice show increased visceral sensitivity that was not observed in cKO mice. MOR and preproenkephalin (Penk) were the most expressed opioid genes in colon. MOR KO mice had augmented kappa opioid receptor and Tumour-Necrosis-Factor-α and diminished Penk transcript levels while DOR, preprodynorphin and Interleukin-1β were unchanged. Global MOR KO females had a thicker colon than floxed females. No alteration was detected in DOR mutant animals. A 5-day DSS treatment led to comparable hypersensitivity in the different mouse lines. CONCLUSION:Our results suggest that mu and delta opioid receptor global endogenous activity but not activity at the peripheral Nav1.8 neurons contribute to visceral sensitivity in naïve mice, and that endogenous MOR and DOR tones were insufficient to elicit analgesia after 5-day DSS-induced colitis. SIGNIFICANCE:Knockout mice for mu and delta opioid receptor have augmented colon sensitivity in the CRD assay. It shows endogenous mu and delta opioid analgesia that may be explored as potential targets for alleviating chronic intestinal pain. 10.1002/ejp.965
Molecular Pharmacology of δ-Opioid Receptors. Gendron Louis,Cahill Catherine M,von Zastrow Mark,Schiller Peter W,Pineyro Graciela Pharmacological reviews Opioids are among the most effective analgesics available and are the first choice in the treatment of acute severe pain. However, partial efficacy, a tendency to produce tolerance, and a host of ill-tolerated side effects make clinically available opioids less effective in the management of chronic pain syndromes. Given that most therapeutic opioids produce their actions via µ-opioid receptors (MOPrs), other targets are constantly being explored, among which δ-opioid receptors (DOPrs) are being increasingly considered as promising alternatives. This review addresses DOPrs from the perspective of cellular and molecular determinants of their pharmacological diversity. Thus, DOPr ligands are examined in terms of structural and functional variety, DOPrs' capacity to engage a multiplicity of canonical and noncanonical G protein-dependent responses is surveyed, and evidence supporting ligand-specific signaling and regulation is analyzed. Pharmacological DOPr subtypes are examined in light of the ability of DOPr to organize into multimeric arrays and to adopt multiple active conformations as well as differences in ligand kinetics. Current knowledge on DOPr targeting to the membrane is examined as a means of understanding how these receptors are especially active in chronic pain management. Insight into cellular and molecular mechanisms of pharmacological diversity should guide the rational design of more effective, longer-lasting, and better-tolerated opioid analgesics for chronic pain management. 10.1124/pr.114.008979
The endogenous opioid system and clinical pain management. Holden Janean E,Jeong Younhee,Forrest Jeannine M AACN clinical issues The endogenous opioid system is one of the most studied innate pain-relieving systems. This system consists of widely scattered neurons that produce three opioids: beta-endorphin, the met- and leu-enkephalins, and the dynorphins. These opioids act as neurotransmitters and neuromodulators at three major classes of receptors, termed mu, delta, and kappa, and produce analgesia. Like their endogenous counterparts, the opioid drugs, or opiates, act at these same receptors to produce both analgesia and undesirable side effects. This article examines some of the recent findings about the opioid system, including interactions with other neurotransmitters, the location and existence of receptor subtypes, and how this information drives the search for better analgesics. We also consider how an understanding of the opioid system affects clinical responses to opiate administration and what the future may hold for improved pain relief. The goal of this article is to assist clinicians to develop pharmacological interventions that better meet their patient's analgesic needs. 10.1097/00044067-200507000-00003
Opioid Therapy in Acute and Chronic Pain. Nafziger Anne N,Barkin Robert L Journal of clinical pharmacology This is an article in the Core Entrustables in Clinical Pharmacology series that describes opioid therapy in acute and chronic pain. Opioid use during surgical procedures or anesthesia is not discussed. Basic pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of opioids are reviewed. The safe and effective use of opioids, including clinical assessment and treatment plan, equianalgesic dosing, opioid rotation, opioid risks and side effects, and clinical adherence monitoring are discussed. Individualized opioid use can be a safe and effective component of a patient-specific multimodal treatment plan for acute or chronic pain. Adverse effects and risks can be prevented or effectively managed when anticipated and recognized. The article is followed by 4 clinical vignettes with discussions. 10.1002/jcph.1276
Opioid Receptors. Stein Christoph Annual review of medicine Opioids are the oldest and most potent drugs for the treatment of severe pain. Their clinical application is undisputed in acute (e.g., postoperative) and cancer pain, but their long-term use in chronic pain has met increasing scrutiny. This article reviews mechanisms underlying opioid analgesia and other opioid actions. It discusses the structure, function, and plasticity of opioid receptors; the central and peripheral sites of analgesic actions and side effects; endogenous and exogenous opioid receptor ligands; and conventional and novel opioid compounds. Challenging clinical situations, such as the tension between chronic pain and addiction, are also illustrated. 10.1146/annurev-med-062613-093100
Structures of the entire human opioid receptor family. Cell Opioids are effective analgesics, but their use is beset by serious side effects, including addiction and respiratory depression, which contribute to the ongoing opioid crisis. The human opioid system contains four opioid receptors (μOR, δOR, κOR, and NOPR) and a set of related endogenous opioid peptides (EOPs), which show distinct selectivity toward their respective opioid receptors (ORs). Despite being key to the development of safer analgesics, the mechanisms of molecular recognition and selectivity of EOPs to ORs remain unclear. Here, we systematically characterize the binding of EOPs to ORs and present five structures of EOP-OR-G complexes, including β-endorphin- and endomorphin-bound μOR, deltorphin-bound δOR, dynorphin-bound κOR, and nociceptin-bound NOPR. These structures, supported by biochemical results, uncover the specific recognition and selectivity of opioid peptides and the conserved mechanism of opioid receptor activation. These results provide a structural framework to facilitate rational design of safer opioid drugs for pain relief. 10.1016/j.cell.2022.12.026
Opioid receptors. Waldhoer Maria,Bartlett Selena E,Whistler Jennifer L Annual review of biochemistry Opioid receptors belong to the large superfamily of seven transmembrane-spanning (7TM) G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). As a class, GPCRs are of fundamental physiological importance mediating the actions of the majority of known neurotransmitters and hormones. Opioid receptors are particularly intriguing members of this receptor family. They are activated both by endogenously produced opioid peptides and by exogenously administered opiate compounds, some of which are not only among the most effective analgesics known but also highly addictive drugs of abuse. A fundamental question in addiction biology is why exogenous opioid drugs, such as morphine and heroin, have a high liability for inducing tolerance, dependence, and addiction. This review focuses on many aspects of opioid receptors with the aim of gaining a greater insight into mechanisms of opioid tolerance and dependence. 10.1146/annurev.biochem.73.011303.073940