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Opioids in Pill and IV Form

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Required Readings

  • Soumerai, T. (2018). The looming shortage of injectable opioids could harm cancer patients.

The article discusses the looming shortage of injectable opioids crucial for treating severe pain in terminally ill cancer patients, amidst efforts to control the opioid crisis in the United States. It recounts the story of Tommy Hogan, a lung cancer patient whose excruciating pain and air hunger were relieved by intravenous opioids, enabling him to spend his final hours with his family peacefully. The shortage is attributed to DEA policies and Pfizer’s acquisition of Hospira, a major manufacturer of sterile injectable pharmaceuticals. Cancer specialists emphasize the indispensability of opioids in managing cancer-related pain, particularly for patients who cannot take oral medications. The shortage poses a significant challenge for hospitals nationwide, prompting collaborative efforts among healthcare professionals to devise alternative pain management strategies. While acknowledging the need to address opioid abuse, the article underscores the importance of ensuring access to essential medications for patients in palliative care.

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Palliative Care: Pain Management for your Patients

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