Fentanyl treats moderate to severe chronic pain. This medicine is a narcotic pain reliever.

Does the word "treat" here mean "act"? Does the word "moderate" mean "so so" ?

  • Moderate does mean that (as described in the answers below), but that's not an accurate description. Fentanyl is a hundred times more potent than morphine and isn't generally used for what you'd call "moderate" pain. – snailcar Jul 30 '14 at 20:29

"Fentanyl treats moderate to severe chronic pain"

Could be reworded to a sentence that might be more helpful to you:

"Fentanyl acts to treat chronic pains which (whom) range from moderate to severe"

So the medicine acts to treat the pain and the medicine is effective in the range of moderate to severe.

Hopefully along with the other answers that gives you a basis for how to read this.


Treat is simple treat here meaning to cure or heal. It does not mean act in this context. Broadly, we divide pain into three categories - mild (bearable), severe (unbearable) and moderate (between them).

I'm a healthcare provider and often use mild/moderate and severe as adjectives to define the degree of pains.

  • thank you, but what about the word "to" here. It says : moderate to . Is moderate an adjective descriping the pain. ? I think the writer here has used the word moderate to describe the drug rather than pain. – user5036 Jul 29 '14 at 10:35
  • to is used to define the range. Like This ride is for the kids aging 6 to 9 years Here, the drug helps treating the chronic pains that range from moderate to severe. – Maulik V Jul 29 '14 at 11:43

When talking about medicines, "Treat" means: "aims to heal, partially heal, or relieve" a symptom or disease.

Moderate pain is an annoying level pain, but not so strong as to feel terribly bad.

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