Pain can have a significantly negative impact on the quality of life of patients. Therefore, patients may resort to analgesics to relieve the pain. The struggle to manage pain in cancer patients effectively and safely has long been an issue in medicine. Analgesics are the mainstay treatment for pain management as they act through various methods on the peripheral and central pain pathways. However, the variability in the patient genotypes may influence a drug response and adverse drug effects that follow through. This review summarizes the observed effects of analgesics on UDP-glucuronosyl (UGT) 2B7 isoenzyme, cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2D6, μ-opioid receptor μ 1 (OPRM1), efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and ATP-binding cassette B1 ABCB1/multiple drug resistance 1 (MDR1) polymorphisms on the mechanism of action of these drugs in managing pain in cancer. Furthermore, this review article also discusses the responses and adverse effects caused by analgesic drugs in cancer pain management, due to the inter-individual variability in their genomes.
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