If opiates are to be used for treating postoperative pain, the choice and dose of opiate will depend on both the patient and the clinical circumstances. However the choice should be guided by pharmacologic principles. These principles lead to the conclusion that opiates should be given by intravenous infusion for postoperative analgesia. The numerous new parenteral agents produced over the past 20 years suggest NOT that we have not found the right drug, but that we have not found the optimal mode of administration.
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