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Morphine Pump

Charles Hokanson phnxbmed at ix.netcom.com
Tue Jan 16 14:41:33 EST 1996

In <30FAADB2.315B at invitrogen.com> rbennett at invitrogen.com writes: 
>Does anyone have information about morphine pumps?  How long have 
>they been used for?  What complications can arise, etc.?  Someone 
>very close to me may need one and I just need more information.  
>References from medical journals would be a great help, too.  Thanks 
>for your trouble in advance.

There are both internal and external pumps which are used to administer
various medications, including morphine.  Generally morphine, when
administered intervnously through a pump is for a terminal patient.
Unfortunatley, the amount of morphine required to control pain in
terminal cancer patients frequently impairs the patient (they get doped
up).  However this is preferable to the pain.

In europe, rather than intervenous administration of morphine, the drug
is frequently administered via needle and syringe through an
implantable port accessing either the intrathecal space or the
ventricles of the brain.  The advantage to this technique is that
1/10th the dosage can be used to control pain, and the patient is not
impaired.  The patients family is taught to administer the injection,
so it can be done inexpensively at home.

Regretably, medicine as practised in the US is driven by $$$$$. 
Infusion therapy is BIG business, taking a large chunk out of medicare
dollars.  There is a financial disincentive for doctors and clinics to
switch to intarthecal or intraventricular administration.  So don't
hold your breath trying to find this form of treatment here in the

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