Medical Dictionary

breakthrough pain

noun

medical Definition of breakthrough pain

:a transient, usually severe episode of pain occurring in individuals (such as cancer patients) being treated for chronic pain
  • Breakthrough pain describes a temporary pain that cancer patients may experience even if they are on other pain pills. The pain can flare from just a few seconds to several hours.
  • —Ken AlltuckerThe Arizona Republic3 Feb. 2012
  • In fact, only 42% of the physicians administered pain medication appropriately, and 80% did not prescribe any medication for breakthrough pain, which occurs frequently in cancer patients.
  • —Stuart L. NightingaleThe Journal of the American Medical Association24 Apr. 1996

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