Breakthrough Pain: Treatments

Breakthrough pain in people suffering from chronic pain adds more insult to the injury, so to speak. The sharp spikes of pain that characterize breakthrough pain will reduce the quality of life for patients for obvious reasons, especially among cancer patients who have to deal with other health issues.

Fortunately, scientists continue to discover breakthroughs in the management of breakthrough pain. Patients are strongly advised to work with their own doctors regarding these matters, and thus, increasing their chances for enjoying significant pain relief. For example, doctors at the Healthpointe Perris clinic, which also welcomes patients from the Nuevo, Sun City, Canyon Lake, Homeland, Romoland, and Lakeview areas, will provide information about the latest breakthroughs in pain management.

In many cases, breakthrough pain is a sign of increased tolerance to the narcotics, which means that you require a higher dosage to achieve the same degree of pain relief. But herein lies the rub – the increased dosage also increases the risk of side effects, thus, stressing the importance of sticking to the prescribed doses.

Despite these risks, however, narcotics remain as one of the best methods for pain relief especially for breakthrough pain. NMDA antagonists (N-methyl-D-aspartate) are among the latest advances in the use of narcotics for pain relief; these drugs work by blocking NMDA receptors, which either minimize or stop the tolerance for opioid drugs.

Doctors use NMDAs to provide pain relief but with lower dosage for the narcotics. While opioid drugs are very safe and effective in pain relief (i.e., little to no damage to organs), these can result in drug tolerance. The use of NMDAs then means lesser drugs but better pain relief.

Yet another breakthrough in the management of breakthrough pain is the use of an extended-release morphine drug, usually for the relief of underlying pain among cancer patients. These are known as rescue medications because of their fast action in rescuing an individual from underlying pain.

Examples of narcotics for breakthrough pain include:

  • Actiq for people who are unable to take pills
  • Fentora for people who want the pills to dissolve in their mouths instead of being swallowed; both Actiq and Fentora has fentanyl
  • Hydromorphone, morphine, and oxycodone work in a similar manner but one may work more than the other depending on the severity of the pain

Always consult with your doctor before taking any of these medications for pain relief.

Come and visit our Healthpointe clinic at Irwindale, which is near Duarte, Azusa, West Covina, Vincent, and Mayflower Village, for more information about pain management.

About Healthpointe:

Healthpointe is a leading multidisciplinary healthcare organization offering a full range of medical services in practice locations throughout Southern California (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County). Healthpointe has locations situated in over 10 cities in Southern California including Irwindale, which is conveniently located by Duarte, Azusa, West Covina, Vincent, and Mayflower Village. As a highly regarded musculoskeletal group, we have a personal investment in the highest level of service, and we are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, urgent care, personal injuries, and professional and non-professional athletes. Leading our organization is a dynamic team of healthcare professionals who continually strive to be at the forefront of medical innovation and healthcare service delivery. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit


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