Document And Entity Information
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2011
Oct. 14, 2011
Document And Entity Information [Abstract]    
Document Type 10-Q  
Amendment Flag false  
Document Period End Date Sep. 30, 2011  
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2011  
Document Fiscal Period Focus Q3  
Entity Registrant Name PAIN THERAPEUTICS INC  
Entity Central Index Key 0001069530  
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31  
Entity Filer Category Accelerated Filer  
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   44,644,164