Re: what is opioid-tolerant
Here's an example of how the term is used - it says on the enclosed leaflet that you get with the fentanyl patches that they are only prescribed for those who are opioid-tolerant, who have been taking at least 60mg per day, or equivalent, of morphine for a week or more.
To be opioid-tolerant is to have taken an opioid long enough to have become tolerant to some of the more dangerous side effects. In the case of the fentanyl patches, they want to be sure the new user is not going to stop breathing, since these meds can cause respiratory depression. The opposite is to be opioid-naive.
When prescribing narcotics, doctors need to know the degree to which patients are opioid-tolerant. A patient who is highly opioid-tolerant will require a much higher dose for adequate pain relief than one who is opioid naive.