analgesic ladder(redirected from Three-Step Ladder)
(1) mild—requiring NSAIDs and, if the pain is post-operative in nature, infiltration with local anaesthetics
(2) moderate—Step 1 plus opioid analgesics PRN
(3) severe—Step 1 and Step 2 plus local anesthetic neural blockade ±catheter plus sustained-release opioid analgesics
The stepwise approach to pain is valid for other types of pain—e.g., postoperative pain, sickle crisis pain, pelvic inflammatory disease
analgesic ladder, World Health Organization analgesic ladder
A framework for the treatment of pain in patients with cancer and other disorders, in which the patient is treated first with anti-inflammatory analgesics such as ibuprofen or mild, non-narcotic pain relievers such as acetaminophen but subsequently may be treated with narcotic analgesics of increasing strengths if anti-inflammatory drugs or adjunctive therapies do not alleviate pain.