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Morphine - Carers UK Forum


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Has anyone got any experience of their caree taking perscribed morphine tablets for chronic pain management?

Been to the GP today and they're considering changing from Fentanyl patches to morphine tablets. I'm particularly interested in the side affects experienced. Only recently got to a managable pain level and I'm concerned we'll have to go through the whole process again. I've only just accepted the side affects and I don't have to experience the physical affects my caree does!

I do appreciate that side affects varying for each individual and depends on other medication taken - just want to hear other people's experiences to get a general idea.

Many thanks

Apologies to moderators if I've posted this topic in the wrong forum but couldn't find a medication forum.
hi jane my wife was on fentanly patches and then went on morphine tablets they made her very tired i also had to watch for her droping things like her tea or coffee she was on that for a wile now she is on liquid morphyen so just watch for them droping things take care if i can help you with anything else send me a message and i will get back to you
I don't know much about fantanyl,but I do know that morphine can cause severe constipation,so may need lactulose or something similiar on a daily basis.
After Mum had her first knee replacement she was on morphine - but it had the effect of making her very confused and she started to hallucinate. There were also personality changes - she started swearing a lot which she'd never ever done before.

The doctors said that the side effects were due to the morphine and they did wear off - eventually ! When she had the 2nd knee done we told the anaethatist (sp) about the problem and she was given Fentanyl patches instead - however as they are also an opiate we had a repeat performance. shortly after the 2nd operation she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and to this day no-one has been able to confirm or deny if the drugs were partly responsible for the speed with which it came on.
I had morphine tabs when my hips dislocated...they were wonderful for me. I only had then for about two weeks. The only side effects that I can remember is being drowsey more often and slight constipation.
Hi Jane
My hubbys been on opiates for a long time for chronic pancreatits. He started with patches but had lots of problems with them. Then he went on to MST which is a 24hr slow release morphine, these then switched to the 12 release ones. He also had oramorph (liquid) for break through pain. Over time the doses were increased until to quote one Dr he was taking enough to drop an elephant! His body became resistant to it is the best way to describe it. The pain clinic swopped him to oxycontin Tablet and the liquid version for breakthrough. Hes now at the maximum dose for this so it will not be long before its swopped again.
Side effects of long term use - having to take increasing amounts because of tolerance, constipation, confusion if hes had a lot (if hes in a lot of pain).Also look out for depressed breathing (sign of over dose).

But when it works its a god send
Hi - my name is Mandy and im new to Carers UK the last 4 days. I am gobsmacked ( only word i could think of that fits how shocked i am at the problems carers have daily)
I care for my husband 24/7 with Uncontrolled Epilepsy.

I joined only so i could donate a little money as i didnt believe anyone could help me..........now im finding so many people hurting with lack of knowledge and support in the community that i feel i can help and ive felt warmth and kindness in 4 short days.

Chronic Pancreatitis is one of the most painful non cancer pains and is so hard to control. I know about morphine and its restrictions in its long term use. Oxycontin is double strength opiate and i am concerned as to what your GP thinks is MAXIMUM DOSE...........
i was a Lung Cancer Nurse and am aware of the use and their misuse of these high strength drugs.
Your GP was inapproriate when he quoted " enough to drop and elephant"
He obviously fell asleep in his Pain Control Lectures..........or perhaps they were boring Image Image

Each pain sufferer has a different pain threshold. We are unique , bit like barcodes Image One man cannot say what is pain for another. In hospital my patients were on as much as was necessary to deal with the pain. Our Macmillan Nurses had patients on very big doses walking about not dropped by any elephants and leading better quality life, which is what its all about.. I remember a young man in his 40s taking 800mg of Oxycontin twice a day and that only took the edge off his pain. He used as much as was needed oral liquid to work out each time when his tablets needed to be increased. he was never given a limit and told what is too much to take.

I have also had my Chronic Emphysema patients with severe osteoporosis and fractured spinal bones, ribs just by coughing and they too had high dose morphines.
A few points concern me as im sure they have been addressed but please humour me and offer if you wish some more information.............

Pancreas aids digestion by producing enzymes to assist it. It also regulates blood sugar but im sure im telling you what you already know. It is situated at the back of the abdomen so backpain is also a problem.
My concern is whether he is actually absorbing all the drug that is slow release. If his pancreas is diseased, digestion will be affected.
It can cause more pain because of its function if it finds something in the gastric flow that is hard to digest like a pre coated long acting tablet.
Also his diet is of paramount importance as certain foods cause much more pain than others as it tries to digests fats and fibre.

Has he been seen by dieticians perhaps ?
Has your husband been seen by the Pain Control Team ?
Has your husband ever been offered a TCNS machine to assist the drugs ?
(it is a nerve stimulator that attaches to the skin and a tiny electrical box giving out a tiny electrical charge) Nerves produce pain and take the pain to the brain where it sends messages back via the nerve to help reduce the pain. They are put over and around areas of pain to assist with pain relief. You can buy these but i now do not know what they cost. BUT you can get them from the Pain team and its costs nothing then.
If you have a Pain Control Nurse or Doctor have they ever discussed the use of a 24 hour syringe driver as an alternative ?
( it is a tiny box that gives a metered dose of high strength morphine by injection and added in an anti sickness drug- into the skin via a small needle over 24 hours. it is changed by the District Nurses every day and pain is relieved by absorption of the morphine outside of the stomach/bowel/bile duct and Pancreas - removing the need for the gastric route to
work hard Image Image Image
You are not at the end of the path to painlessness but perhaps at the end of this path with tablets coated for slow release.

I sincerely hope you do not mind my questions and advice as all i have to offer on Carers UK is my Nursing Experience, and i so want to help.

Kindness and Friendship - Mandy
Thank you everyone for your feedback Image

Mr Turk – partner is on 100mcg/ph he already drops things and is tired, he’ll sleep most afternoons and sometimes evenings as well. If we do swap to tablets I’ll look out for an increase of these though, thank you.

Lazydaisy & Sparklingtechie – Thank you

Susieq – that’s quite alarming! I believe there is so much more to know about Alzheimer's let’s hope the research continues.

Booksey- We’ve had the dosage upped four times so far, now on Fentanyl 100mcg/ph, takes Tramadol as a top up, also on Pregabalin for general pain and paracetamol (takes other meds not relating to pain control). Sometimes I wish I’d gone into pharmaceuticals perhaps I’d know what was going on! I didn’t know about the depressed breathing so thank you for that. Partner was over dosed on morphine after an operation and was told not to take it but that was a very long time ago now. The other thing with the patches is only change them every three days so less tablets to take, I set his mobile with alarms to remind him to take tablets but he still forgets to take them sometimes if he’s busy or we’re not at home.

Mandy – Part of me would like to PM you with all my partner’s meds but not sure for what reason I’d be doing this for. The medication is working at the moment, in his words “I have a very colourful breakfast”, he’s by no means “pain free” but I’ve come to the opinion that he’ll only be pain free when he’s nearing the end.

Sorry to finish on a low but I’m trying to be realistic its no good me sticking my head in the sand, it won’t change anything.

Thanks guys Image
hi Ranicat

I'll PM you later don't have time right now (supposed to be cleaning up!!! not lurking on the web)