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Potent analgesics

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The potent analgesics include the opioids. The preparations usually used include morphine, diamorphine - heroin - and pethidine.

Generally, the use of these analgesics is restricted to the very worst of pain, in particular pain associated with terminal malignant disease. Here the principle of treatment is that it is important to give an adequate dose frequently enough to prevent the recurrence of pain.

In the acute general hospital, opioids are heavily underprescribed because of worries about addiction and respiratory depression. Adequate post-operative monitoring is essential because of the latter.

Morphine is often the preferred drug since it is much cheaper that diamorphine.

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