Table 73 Common myths about morphine

• Morphine is a last resort.

This is not so, and there is no maximum dose.

• The patient will become addicted.

This is rare and probably irrelevant in the context of palliative care.

• The patient will need ever-increasing amounts.

The drug does not lose its effect but is usually increased according to disease progression.

• Morphine will cause respiratory depression.

This is rarely a problem and may even help those with dyspnoea. An overdose can be reversed with an injection of naloxone.

• Morphine will shorten life.

The reverse may in fact apply. It is not being used for euthanasia but to control pain.

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