Opioid treatment for acute and chronic pain in patients with sickle cell disease

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3 Scopus citations


Sickle cell disease is a uniquely complex painful disease, with lifelong episodes of unpredictable acute pain and superimposed chronic pain in adulthood. Both painful crises and chronic pain in sickle cell disease lack strong objective pathological correlates and their mechanisms are poorly understood. Opioids have emerged as the standard of care for severe acute pain in sickle cell disease and many patients with chronic pain are maintained on chronic opioid therapy. The strong association between recurrent acute pain and chronic pain in SCD blurs the distinction between acute and chronic opioid management paradigms. In addition, opioid management for SCD is dogged by stigma and concerns regarding addiction. This review aims to synthesize the broad literature on opioids to highlight the clinical complexity of opioid management in sickle cell disease and suggest directions for future research and clinical innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134534
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Chronic pain
  • Opioids
  • Sickle cell disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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