The WHO analgesic ladder for cancer pain is a schematic for providing symptomatic pain relief. Its three-step approach is relatively inexpensive and 80%-90% effective.1 Although developed for use in cancer pain, this stepwise approach to achieving adequate pain control may be adapted in the setting of chronic non-cancer pain.2
Analgesics should be administered1:
1. WHO Pain Relief Ladder for cancer pain relief. Available at: www.who.int/cancer/palliative/painladder/en. Accessed February 2012.
2. Vargas-Schaffer G. Is the WHO analgesic ladder still valid? Twenty-four years of experience. Can Fam Physician 2010;56:514-517, e202-5.