December 13, 2013

Pain management in patients with liver cirrhosis

Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Dec 2. pii: S0210-5705(13)00167-2. doi: 10.1016/j.gastrohep.2013.05.007. [Epub ahead of print]

[Article in Spanish]

Ojeda A, Moreno LA.

Servicio de Anestesiología y Reanimación, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Barcelona, España; Unidad del Dolor, Servicio de Anestesiología y Reanimación, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Barcelona, España. Electronic address:


Pain management in patients with liver cirrhosis is a real challenge and is often inadequate due to a lack of therapeutic efficacy or the high incidence of adverse effects. The focus of treatment differs depending on whether the pain is acute or chronic and involves understanding the causative pathophysiological mechanism. Analgesics should be started with the minimum effective dose and should be titrated slowly with avoidance of polypharmacy. Adverse effects must be monitored, especially sedation and constipation, which predispose the patient to the development of hepatic encephalopathy. The first-line drug is paracetamol, which is safe at doses of 2-3g/day. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents are contraindicated because they can cause acute renal failure and/or gastrointestinal bleeding. Tramadol is a safe option for moderate-severe pain. The opioids with the best safety profile are fentanyl and hydromorphone, with methadone as an alternative. Topical treatment can reduce oral drug consumption. In neuropathic pain the first-line therapeutic option is gabapentin. The use of antidepressants such as amitriptyline can be considered in some patients. Interventional techniques are a valuable tool in moderate to severe pain, since they allow a reduction in drug therapy and consequently its adverse effects. Psychological treatment, physical therapy and rehabilitation should be considered as part of multimodality therapy in the management of chronic pain.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier España, S.L. y AEEH y AEG. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS: Adverse drug events, Cirrosis hepática, Hepatic cirrhosis, Manejo del dolor, Pain management, Reacciones adversas farmacológicas

PMID: 24309482 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


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