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J Pain Symptom Manage. 1992 Jul;7(5):259-66.

A long-term survey of morphine in cancer pain patients.


We surveyed 550 cancer patients who experienced pain and were treated with morphine for a total of 22,525 treatment days. Sufficient pain relief was achieved during more than 80% of this time using an average oral morphine dose of 82.4 mg--significantly lower than other studies. The use of this low dose, which was possible due to the concomitant administration of nonopioids and specific coanalgesics in most patients, resulted in a low incidence of side effects. Constipation and nausea/vomiting were the most common of these side effects. Physical dependence posed no practical problem in discontinuation of morphine treatment. Long-term opioid intake and development of tolerance did not appear to be linked; an increase in morphine dosage was most often explained by progression of the terminal disease. Addiction was a negligible problem, with only one observed case.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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