Medical Dictionary

breakthrough pain


Medical Definition of breakthrough pain

  1. :  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 Alltucker, The Arizona Republic, 3 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. Nightingale, The Journal of the American Medical Association, 24 Apr. 1996

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