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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Korean Journal of Anesthesiology, Volume 71, Issue 5, October 2018, Pages 345-352.

The published version is available at Copyright © Schwenk & Mariano


Multimodal analgesia is defined as the use of more than one pharmacological class of analgesic medication targeting different receptors along the pain pathway with the goal of improving analgesia while reducing individual class-related side effects. Evidence today supports the routine use of multimodal analgesia in the perioperative period to eliminate the over-reliance on opioids for pain control and to reduce opioid-related adverse events. A multimodal analgesic protocol should be surgery-specific, functioning more like a checklist than a recipe, with options to tailor to the individual patient. Elements of this protocol may include opioids, non-opioid systemic analgesics like acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, gabapentinoids, ketamine, and local anesthetics administered by infiltration, regional block, or the intravenous route. While implementation of multimodal analgesic protocols perioperatively is recommended as an intervention to decrease the prevalence of long-term opioid use following surgery, the concurrent crisis of drug shortages presents an additional challenge. Anesthesiologists and acute pain medicine specialists will need to advocate locally and nationally to ensure a steady supply of analgesic medications and in-class alternatives for their patients' perioperative pain management.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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