Is there a role for opioids in the treatment of fibromyalgia?

Geoffrey O. Littlejohn, Emma K. Guymer, Gene Siew Ngian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The use of opioids for chronic pain has increased significantly due to a combination of the high patient burden of pain and the more widespread availability of a range of long-acting opioid preparations. This increased opioid use has translated into the care of many patients with fibromyalgia. The pain mechanism in fibromyalgia is complex but does not seem to involve disturbance of opioid analgesic functions. Hence, there is general concern about the harms in the absence of benefits of opioids in this setting. There is no evidence that pure opioids are effective in fibromyalgia but there is some evidence that opioids with additional actions on the norepinephrine-related pain modulatory pathways, such as tramadol, can be clinically useful in some patients. Novel actions of low-dose opioid antagonists may lead to better understanding of the role of opioid function in fibromyalgia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-355
Number of pages9
JournalPain Management Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • codeine
  • fibromyalgia
  • morphine
  • naltrexone
  • opioids
  • oxycodone
  • tapentadol
  • tramadol

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