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Vol 8, No 4 (2009)
Review articles
Published online: 2010-02-01
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Subcutaneous and intravenous administration of analgesics in palliative medicine

Jolanta Życzkowska, Jerzy Wordliczek
Advances in Palliative Medicine 2009;8(4):153-160.

open access

Vol 8, No 4 (2009)
Review articles
Published online: 2010-02-01

Abstract

Pain is one of the most frequent complaints reported by cancer patients. In their terminal periods, the proportion of patients suffering from pain reaches 75%. Even, the most convenient route of administration of medicines is the oral route, not every clinical situation permits the oral therapy. Alternative routes of administration of medicines, especially in palliative medicine, involve multiple injections or continuous infusions, both subcutaneous and intravenous. Most opioids (morphine, diamorphine in small doses, oxycodon, pethidine, fentanyl, tramadol) can be administered subcutaneously. There are no significant differences between the subcutaneous and intravenous (i.v.) application of medicines in terms of their absorption, efficacy and the frequency of side effects. The titration of i.v. opioids is not only an effective and rapid method of pain relief, but also is safe and unrelated to increased risk of respiratory centre depression. The role of intravenous administration of medicines increase especially at the terminal stages of cancer patients’ life. An appropriate choice of administration route or its exchange to an alternative one may in a number of cases improve the comfort and quality of life of patients receiving palliative care.

Abstract

Pain is one of the most frequent complaints reported by cancer patients. In their terminal periods, the proportion of patients suffering from pain reaches 75%. Even, the most convenient route of administration of medicines is the oral route, not every clinical situation permits the oral therapy. Alternative routes of administration of medicines, especially in palliative medicine, involve multiple injections or continuous infusions, both subcutaneous and intravenous. Most opioids (morphine, diamorphine in small doses, oxycodon, pethidine, fentanyl, tramadol) can be administered subcutaneously. There are no significant differences between the subcutaneous and intravenous (i.v.) application of medicines in terms of their absorption, efficacy and the frequency of side effects. The titration of i.v. opioids is not only an effective and rapid method of pain relief, but also is safe and unrelated to increased risk of respiratory centre depression. The role of intravenous administration of medicines increase especially at the terminal stages of cancer patients’ life. An appropriate choice of administration route or its exchange to an alternative one may in a number of cases improve the comfort and quality of life of patients receiving palliative care.
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Keywords

subcutaneous administration of medicines; intravenous administration of medicines; opioids; analgesics; palliative medicine

About this article
Title

Subcutaneous and intravenous administration of analgesics in palliative medicine

Journal

Advances in Palliative Medicine

Issue

Vol 8, No 4 (2009)

Pages

153-160

Published online

2010-02-01

Bibliographic record

Advances in Palliative Medicine 2009;8(4):153-160.

Keywords

subcutaneous administration of medicines
intravenous administration of medicines
opioids
analgesics
palliative medicine

Authors

Jolanta Życzkowska
Jerzy Wordliczek

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