In a new guideline issued by the German Association for the Study of Pain, intrathecal opioid therapy is described as proven to be effective with relatively few side effects. We reviewed this statement by analysis of the available literature and critical evaluation of the clinical course in a few of our own patients (n=3). In these cases (as well as in a further eight patients), explantation and a switch to oral opioids led to distinctly better alleviation of pain and abatement of the unwanted effects. The problems we discuss do not appear to be rare instances, but by all means complications that are frequently described. The long-term efficacy of intrathecal opioids has not been adequately verified; moreover, their potency is not high. The frequency of undesired events is comparable to that of oral opioid medication, but serious neurological complications are possible. To avoid dose escalations and to recognize neurological complications in time, diligent monitoring by the surgeon or an experienced pain center is essential.