patient-controlled opiates

Last reviewed 01/2018

Patient-controlled opiate analgesia enables opioid delivery to be tailored to individual requirements. The patient presses a button to activate a pumping machine in order for a precise volume of opiate to be injected intravenously. This can be repeated as often as required.

Limitations to prevent overdosage include a maximum bolus dose. The patient is prevented from triggering a new bolus before the last has had an effect by a time lock mechanism; this period is normally between five and ten minutes with morphine.

Patient-controlled analgesia is popular with patients and nursing staff, but respiratory depression and hypoxaemia have still been reported.