Research into cause of side effects of Morphine

Posted by Samantha Ward on

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Morphine is an opiate-based pain killer used extensively around the world to manage moderate to severe symptoms of pain associated with conditions such as cancer, arthritis and acute trauma to name but a few. Unfortunately, although an effective pain killer, there are many undesirable side effects associated with Morphine, which in turn often require further drug treatments.  Side effects include: constipation, allergy, itching, confusion, nausea and respiratory depression.  In addition, over time with prolonged use patients can become resistant to Morphine and develop an increased sensitivity to pain. 

Previously it has been thought that these inflammatory side effects were triggered by the opiate-receptors in the body, however scientists have discovered that Opiates like Morphine can create an inflammatory response through the activation of an immune receptor in the brain.  Furthermore, they have demonstrated how this immune receptor in the brain can be blocked, which could, in time, potentially lead to the development of new therapeutic drugs that improve the effectiveness of morphine while reducing many of its problematic side effects. 

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Sam is a Registered Nurse with 17 years' experience working in the NHS. She uses her medical and nursing knowledge and experience to liaise with clients.

Samantha Ward
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