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PJ Online homeThe Salvadore
Vol 274 No 7333 p86
22 January 2005

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· The Society (23)
· Overseas pharmacists (2)
· Fellowship (2)
· Diamorphine
· Morphine sulphate
· Chloramphenicol
· Drug donations
· The Journal (2)

Letters to the Editor

Morphine sulphate

Making oral morphine a CD is not the answer

From Ms S. A. Haynes, MRPharmS

Although I can understand C. Ralph’s concern at morphine being swigged from a bottle with such apparent unconcern, I cannot agree that 10mg in 5ml morphine sulphate solution should be reclassified as a Controlled Drug (PJ, 15 January, p55).
Morphine has a place in both long-term treatment of chronic pain (eg, osteoporosis) and as a short-term analgesic (eg, in post-operative care). It has a much wider use than just terminal care.

My trust uses morphine sulphate unit dose vials (UDVs) regularly in post-operative care. Its status as a POM , without the need for the recording and checking that are necessary for a CD, means there is much less delay in patients receiving adequate analgesia.

For a small group of women who have had caesarean sections, self-medication is encouraged, and they are given five UDVs to keep appropriately stored at the bedside. There is adequate supervision and checks in the system to ensure the UDVs are not misused, “lost” or taken in too great a quantity. The scheme has been a great success with both the staff and the women who have participated. If morphine 10mg in 5ml was reclassified,this scheme would have to end, and I believe the care of these patients would suffer as a result.

If the morphine had been prescribed inappropriately for the woman mentioned in Ms Ralph’s letter, as I accept could happen, would extra legislation and record keeping have prevented the prescription being written?

Sally Haynes

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