Morphine patches, Should I use them or not???

Hi guy's,

I was wanting some advice on fellow lupies experiences with low dose morphine patches.

I have sle, sjogren's, raynauds and crps. I have reluctantly been talking slow release tramadol for nearly a year now which takes the edge off the pain but my main problem is concerns with taking so many meds. I was raised only to take meds as a last resort which at the ripe old age of 38 has really stuck so my gp thinks a low dose morphine patch would really help with the pain and as it's a patch you can leave on for 7 days so I wouldn't be taking tablets orally everyday. Just the word morphine really scares me as I associate it with palliative care, which isn't my case at all and I have a 9yr old son, will I still be able to function and look after him? I am of the mindset that I've got used to living with pain now so just man up and deal with it. I would really appreciate any advice you may have to offer.

Thanks in advance and wishing you all well.

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  • Hi Sezzie,

    If you are given the right dose of morphine then it will all be metabolised to fight the pain and you should still be able to " function ".

    Have you ever had a referral to a chronic pain clinic? They are run by anaesthetists and a multi disciplinary team including nurses, physio's and psychologists. They are very holistic, using meds if that is appropriate but also giving you help to " man up " and cope with the pain in other ways. They are also great at combining painkillers with other types of meds to maximise the effect.

    Good luck


  • Hi keyes,

    I asked my gp for a referral to a pain clinic as my physio suggested it but she said that's a last resort after we've tried everything hence the morphine patches. I think it would really help me but I don't like to ask again.

  • Hi Sezzie,

    I wonder if it's worth asking again. The decision to take opiates long term is a really big one, the pain team have the knowledge and experience to help you make that decision or suggest possible alternatives.

    If you are taking opiates for pain then addiction isn't a problem, but tolerance can be where you have to take increasing doses to get the same effect.

    Is the medical management of your conditions optimal? It may be that your Rheumy could refer you.

    Best wishes


  • Hi keyes,

    I spoke to a friend of mine today who is a nurse and she advised against morphine patches and said I should get my rheumy to refer me to pain clinic so that's what I'm going to do. I'm refusing the patches.

    Thank you for your advice. X

  • I have been on the patches for two years they have help manage my pain really well I have lupus and a slip disc and the morphine patch has been incredibly very good. But please be carefull not to take a lot of codeine on top of the patches as they do make you drowsy and sleepy so if you take this method please make sure that you monitor what you take pain killers you take.

    Healing hugs sezzie

    Luppychick x

  • Thanks luppychick,

    I wouldn't take any other pain relief whilst using morphine patches as id imagine you wouldn't need to as it's much stronger than tramadol? Thank you for your reply but I have to say I'm still very nervous, I don't even like talking paracetamols but it's good to know that if I decide to that I will still able to function.

    Healing hugs to you too. Sarah X

  • Hi, I started with BuTrans patches about 5 years ago. Started on 5mg and when bad taking Tramadol and paracetamol as well. As I progressed I'm now on 10mg patch with Tramadol and paracetamol (Parecetamol helps the Tramadol work hence it being prescribed for use). In the first couple of days I felt a little dozy but that subsided quickly and I don't have any side effects now. I think for me it was the best decision as I wouldn't get the pain when I was due more tablets. My doc did try me on a fentanyl patch which I reacted very badly too and since I have found out that lupies do have problems with fentanyl but the BuTrans are fantastic.

    I have been to pain clinic and it was them that prescribed the patches and also acupuncture and hydrotherapy sessions which helped but they are very person specific and might not work for you. I have also tried Indian head massage and neck, back and shoulder massages which really helped. Try local sports center and college for cheaper options.

  • Hi helentad,

    Thank you so much for your very informative reply and I shall look into butrans. Funnily enough I took my tramadol with 2 paracetamols this morning and it seems to have made a difference. I woke up early this morning and everywhere hurt so bad and the fatigue is crippling, oh the joys we endure! I phoned my rheumy's secretary this morning and asked her if they would refer me to a pain clinic and she said that shouldn't be a problem so fingers crossed as I really don't want to go down the morphine road just yet.

    I have been thinking about indian head massage as I had it done briefly in a salon years ago and loved it.

    Thanks for all your advice, I'm very grateful to everyone who takes the time to reply to me. Sarah X

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