• The use of potent narcotics to control severe pain should be of short duration and limited to patients with acute diseases or inoperable or metastatic cancer who require long-term relief. Continued and prolonged use of narcotics in patients with chronic benign pain is not recommended because of serious behavioral consequences, the development of tolerance, and addiction liability. Long-term use of analgesic drugs in chronic pain usually produces negative behavioral complications that are more difficult to manage than the pain it was desired to eliminate. The use of antidepressant drugs in the pain regimen has been found to provide increased relief of pain and often allows the dose of narcotic analgesic to be reduced or totally eliminated.
(Arch Surg 112:861-869, 1977)