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"Can you help me out doc?" - Treatment of Pain in Persons with a History of Addictions


"Can you help me out doc?" - Treatment of Pain in Persons with a History of Addictions

University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine
Stacie Levine, MD
POGOe Id: 
Date Posted: 
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 

This self-directed learning exercise explores the approach to pain management in terminally ill patients with a history of substance abuse.  Through a video case presentation and related readings, the learners will identify challenges and optimal strategies for caring for this special population.  Four to five multiple choice test questions are included in this module.  A brief review and follow up with an instructor is recommended to go over the answers. A workbook is provided. Some external materials are required; see the instructions below.

Educational objectives: 

After completion of this module the student should be able to:

  1. Define addiction, physical dependence, pseudoaddiction, and tolerance
  2. Describe basic principles for prescribing controlled substances to patients with advanced illness and issues of addiction
  3. Recommend appropriate guidelines for clinical management of terminally ill patients with addiction
Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

In order to complete this module, you will also need to access the following:

  • Video "Pain Management for a Patient with a History of Substance Abuse" from The Center for Palliative Care Education
  • Article Kirsh KL and Passik SD. Palliative care of the terminally ill drug addict. Cancer Investigation 2006;24:425-431.
  • The answer key for this product will be provided to faculty members only. To request the answer key, send an email to titled "Request for Answer Key to Product #20723". Include your full name, your institution, your intended use of the product and any additional information relevant to the request. Also include your supervisor's full name, email address and phone number so that we may confirm your status as a faculty member.

This product is part of a series of 3 independent learning modules on pain for medical students and other learners.  Companion products are "Addressing myths and managing side effects of opioid medications" (#20724) and "Assessment and treatment of neuropathic pain" (#20725).   The workbook for this series can also be accessed at

Intended learner audience: 
Other Learning Resource Type: 
Estimated time to complete: 
30 minutes
Conflict of Interest Disclosure: 
No, I (we) have nothing to disclose.
Already Expired Email Date: 
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 12:54am
Already Expired Email 1 month date: 
Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 11:35am
Expired Email Date: 
Friday, March 30, 2018 - 4:22pm
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:
Seema Limaye, MD

Suggested Citation:
Stacie Levine. "Can you help me out doc?" - Treatment of Pain in Persons with a History of Addictions. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2010 Available from: