Adjuvant analgesics in cancer pain: A review

Raj Mitra, Stephanie Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Adjuvant analgesics (co-analgesics) are medications whose primary indication is the management of a medical condition with secondary effects of analgesia. Cancer pain is multifactorial and often involves inflammatory, nociceptive, and neuropathic pain subtypes. Adjuvant analgesics used in conjunction with opioids have been found to be beneficial in the management of many cancer pain syndromes; however, they are currently underutilized. Antidepressants, anticonvulsants, local anesthetics, topical agents, steroids, bisphosphonates, and calcitonin are all adjuvants which have been shown to be effective in the management of cancer pain syndromes. When utilizing analgesic adjuvants in the treatment of cancer pain, providers must take into account the particular side effect profile of the medication. Ideally, adjuvant analgesics will be initiated at lower dosages and escalated as tolerated until efficacy or adverse effects are encountered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-79
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012


  • adjuvant
  • analgesic
  • cancer and pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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