Shining a Light on Pain Relief

2012 February 1
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G. Krishnappa at Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology (KMIS)

A young man with non-Hodgkin lymphoma went from being unable to get up and go to the toilet, to taking a “sprightly” walk. Others patients report similar changes when taking this treatment.

The miracle cure? Oral morphine.

This essential medicine is inexpensive and has relatively few side effects. Yet for over a million people in India who need it, it’s out of reach.

A package of articles in The Hindu have taken on the subject in detail, showing that morphine, despite the misconceptions and myths surrounding it, is a highly effective pain reliever for those suffering from serious illness such as cancer and AIDS.

Outdated notions and continued bureaucratic holdups have stood in the way of its dissemination through most of India.

Of course, we at Pallium India are fully aware of this, and our commitment is to bring appropriate and complete palliative care to all who need it.

A powerful palliative under lock and key

Journalist Mohit M. Rao investigates the issue in an article headlined “A Powerful Palliative Under Lock and Key.” In it, Rao shows that partly because of their usage for illicit purposes, there is unnecessary fear in both patients and doctors of opioids.

The article quotes Dr. Nagesh Simha, Medical Director of Karunashraya and chairperson of Bangalore Hospice Trust, who says some doctors are ill-informed about the effects of morphine for pain relief.

“Doctors are hesitant to prescribe oral morphine to even those in severe pain as they are misinformed of the side-effects…”.

And there is an ever-present, often unrealistic fear of addiction.

Please read the entire series of articles at The Hindu:

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