The Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association
Opioids are generally acceptable in pediatric medicine for short-term pain control associated with surgery or trauma. They are not recommended for treatment of chronic pain. Research has shown morphine and similar medications are not superior to ibuprofen and have significantly more adverse effects, e.g. opioid dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Adverse effects may occur after as few as 5 days of use. Use of opioids for medical purposes in adolescence also increases the risk for long-term use and misuse in adulthood. Opioids do not reduce inflammation from active arthritis and should be reserved for short-term use in cases of severe pain secondary to joint damage. Long-term pain control should be addressed with a multidisciplinary approach combining pharmacologic, behavioral, and exercise-based modalities.