The Pain Group

The Pain Group

The Pain Group studies management of acute and chronic non-malignant pain conditions in addiction to cancer-related pain with a focus on morphine analgesics (opioids).

Several group members are also actively involved in the study of malignant pain within Pain and Palliation Research Group and the PRC (European Palliative Research Centre).

The group has multidisciplinary and collaborator approach to pain management research. This includes molecular biology/genetics, experimental pharmacological studies in volunteers and patients, controlled clinical studies, and epidemiology/pharmacoepidemiology.

Opioids and pain have been the primary focus, but also other pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches including vocational rehabilitation of patients in pain, are addressed.

Important research findings

  • Less than 1% of the population persistently uses opioids depending on definition. However, 60% of these also use benzodiazepines persistently. These important findings are based on pharmaco-epidemiological studies using the NOR-PD (Norwegian Prescription Database), which includes information on all prescriptions from all Norwegian pharmacies since 2004.

  • Physical activity reduces the prevalence of chronic pain, particularly in elderly women. The Pain in HUNT study also showed, ta four year follow up of HUNT 3 in about 4000 participants, that the prevalence of chronic significant pain is about 30 %, and that this pain is stable in individuals followed for 12 months.

  • No particular SNPs being responsible for inter individual variation in opioid consumption in cancer pain patients was found in the European Pharmaco-genetic Opioid Study. However, the study may have detected SNPs in non-opioid pathways of relevance. EPOS has generated many publications.

  • Nasal fentanyl was shown to have favourable pharmacokinetics for treatment of break-through cancer pain. A pilot study on nasal fentanyl for patient controlled chronic cancer pain showed promising results and a follow up RCT is started.

  •  A new formulation of nasal naloxone has favourable pharmacokinetics for prehospital use in opioid overdose.  Studies to have the drug licensed is underway, both preclinical and clinical

  • Chronic postsurgical pain (CPSP) has a negative effect on health-related quality of life. The prevalence of CPSP in patients undergoing cardiac surgery was 11% after 6 and 12 months and declines further to 4% after five years.

Important collaborators


Arne Skulberg won the national finale in Researcher Grand Prix 2014. We proudly congratulate our team-member of the Pain group!

Sidsel Skarra, Ola Dale, Ida Tylleskârand Arne Skulberg from the Pain group at ISB. Photo: Kjersti Lunden Nilsen



30 Jun 2020

Image - Pain

Pain - Illustration/PHOTO - NTNU



Professor Ola Dale

Group members:

Adjunct Professor Petter Borchgrevink

Professor II Pål Klepstad

Researcher Olav Fredheim

Senior Engineer Sissel Skarra

Head Engineer Turid Nilsen

Associate Professor Kari Hanne Gjeilo