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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18659
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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If one has a tolerance to opiod pain med, does that mean he

Customer Question

If one has a tolerance to opiod pain med, does that mean he or she is also developing a tolerance to all of them
JA: How long have you had the pain? What seems to make the pain better or worse?
Customer: since 2003
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: No I started taking them for disk problems, right now I am getting over knee replacement
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 10 months ago.

Hello from JustAnswer.

Generally yes, if someone develops tolerance to one opioid, they are likely to be tolerant to all opioids. Sometimes, the cross-tolerance is less between two opioids that are primarily active against different opioid receptors. But in practical application, the cross-tolerance tends to occur with all opioids.

It is also worth noting that the cross-tolerance will also exist despite the specific medical problems. I have had some patients with a history of opioid abuse that had quit using and later come into the hospital with a heart attack, and they had tolerance to the morphine being given for their chest pain.

Tolerance can develop even without abuse or addiction. This is why the development of tolerance is considered one of the risks of long-term use of opioids. In certain situations, the benefits may still outweigh the risks, but the risk of tolerance is still considered in the balance when deciding whether to use opioids for long-term treatment.

If I can provide any additional information, please let me know.