2 Nov, 11 | by Assistant Editor
Articles of interest in other scholarly journals
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Rauers NI, Stüber F, Lee EH, Musshoff F, Fimmers R, Barann M, Stamer UM.
This postoperative randomised, double-blinded study assessed if ondansetron and tramadol had opposing effects and if co-administration decreased their efficacy. It showed that using both drugs together did not increase tramadol use or emesis.
Dev R, Parsons HA, Palla S, Palmer JL, Del Fabbro E, Bruera E.
In this retrospective study of 665 patients, the frequency of undiagnosed alcoholism among patients with advanced cancer and its relationship to alcoholism, smoking and use of illegal drugs was assessed. 598 patients had completed the Cut Down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye Opener (CAGE) questionnaire. The frequency of CAGE-positive results was 17%, of which only 13% had been identified before their palliative care consultation. These patients were more likely to have a current and past history of smoking, and illegal recreational drug use. Pain and dyspnea were worse in patients who had a history of nicotine use. Both CAGE-positive patients and patients who had a history of tobacco use more frequently were receiving strong opioids at the time of their palliative care consultation.
Harris D, Finlay I, Flowers S, Noble S.
The practice of relieving patient distress through sedative doses of anxiolytics or opioids in terminal haemorrhage was evaluated through Semi-structured interviews with 11 specialist nurses. This showed that anxiolytics and opioids rarely benefit the patient who is having a terminal haemorrhage as it is so rapid that patients died before it could be administered. Furthermore, it may remove nurses from giving patient care, as staying with and supporting the patient, as well as using dark-coloured towels to camouflage blood was reported to be of more practical use. The focus on administering medications was often to the detriment of these non-pharmacological approaches.
Liu XY, Liu ZC, Sun YG, Ross M, Kim S, Tsai FF, Li QF, Jeffry J, Kim JY, Loh HH, Chen ZF.
Spinal opioids can cause itch, which has previously been thought to result from pain inhibition. This study separates the sensation of itch from analgesia, demonstrating that morphine directly induces itch in a subset of spinal neurons by signalling through a heterodimer of opioid (μ-opioid receptor isoform 1D) and gastrin-releasing peptide receptors. In addition, blocking MOR1D-GRPR association attenuates itch but not analgesia. This study also evaluated the downstream effectors of GRPRs and suggests potential pharmacological targets.
Biere-Rafi S, Di Nisio M, Gerdes V, Porreca E, Souverein P, Boer A, Büller H, Kamphuisen P.
In a case-control study (of 4433 cases and 16,802 controls) using a Dutch registry the population based effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on pulmonary embolism (PE) was assessed. Current use of NSAIDs was associated with PE, with the overall risk for NSAIDs being highest in the first 30 days of use. Use of acetaminophen and tramadol also increased the risk of PE with a similar time trend. Although NSAIDs are associated with an increased risk of PE, this might be due to the underlying medical condition for which they are prescribed, as suggested by a similarly increased thrombotic risk in patients receiving paracetamol and tramadol.
Felden L, Walter C, Harder S, Treede RD, Kayser H, Drover D, Geisslinger G, Lötsch J.
In this meta-analysis of eight studies the analgesic effects of morphine and hydromorphone were compared. It suggested that hydromorphone (494 patients) provides slightly better (P=0.012) clinical analgesia than morphine (510 patients). The effect-size was small although the advantage of hydromorphone was more evident in studies of better quality. Nausea, vomiting and itching were similar. This suggests some advantage of hydromorphone over morphine for analgesia. The authors suggest that hydromorphone’s safety in renal failure or during acute analgesia titration, are based on limited evidence and require substantiation by further studies.
Wahawisan J, Kolluru S, Nguyen T, Molina C, Speake J.
To report the potential clinically significant pharmacokinetic interaction that may result from smoking cessation in patients on methadone maintenance therapy.
This case report describes a 46-year-old man with decreased respirations and altered mental status related to methadone toxicity, despite being on a stable dose of methadone for chronic back pain. These toxicities resolved by withholding and then reducing the methadone dose. It was subsequently noted that he had recently stopped smoking, which was thought to be the precipitating factor. The explanation for this effect is that tobacco smoke contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which induce the cytochrome P450 CYP1A2 enzymes which partly metabolise methadone and decreased smoking can lead to a reduction in methadone metabolism, resulting in higher serum concentrations
By Jason Boland, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Barnsley Hospice, United Kingdom