A nurse administers opioid pain medication to a patient with chronic pain. The nurse also has an order for an adjuvant medication to give if needed. Which of the following conditions would most benefit from administration of an antidepressant as an adjuvant medication? Select all that apply.


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- Neuropathic pain

- Cancer pain

- Trigeminal neuralgia

- Migraine headache

- Gastrointestinal colic


-"Neuropathic pain", "Cancer pain" and "Trigeminal neuralgia" are correct. An adjuvant medication is one that is given along with pain medication to support comfort. The adjuvant drug may not be a pain medication, but can be used off-label, like using an antidepressant for better pain control. Antidepressants can be useful as an adjuvant drug to control neuropathic pain, cancer pain and trigeminal neuralgia.

-"Migraine headache" and "Gastrointestinal colic" are not conditions in which an antidepressant is effective as an adjuvant for pain control.

Sebastián-Aldeanueva, M., López-Muñoz, F., Guerra, J. A., & Álamo, C. (2016). Antidepressant and Anticonvulsant Drugs as Adjuvant Analgesics in Chronic Pain. Melatonin, Neuroprotective Agents and Antidepressant Therapy, 523-532. doi:10.1007/978-81-322-2803-5_33

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