Document And Entity Information
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2015
Apr. 10, 2015
Document And Entity Information [Abstract]    
Document Type 10-Q  
Amendment Flag false  
Document Period End Date Mar. 31, 2015  
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2015  
Document Fiscal Period Focus Q1  
Trading Symbol PTIE  
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   45,756,117