Background Morphine and hydromorphone are commonly used as opioids in cancer pain. The management of non-malignant pain is sometime difficult. A recent and debated therapeutic consideration is the used of morphine in intractable Rheumatologic Non-Malignant Pain (RNMP).
Objectives The purpose of this prospective randomised study was to compare the efficacy of pain relief and side effects of oral hydromorphone and oral morphine in RNMP.
Methods 144 patients suffering from RNMP were assigned to receive oral morphine or oral hydromorphone. Different criteria were affeffed: dose of morphine (mg/day), duration of treatment (days), baseline and post-treatment evaluation of pain using a Visual Analogic Scale (VAS, in cm). The prevalence of nausea was assessed in the two groups.
Conclusion We observed a VAS mean decrease of 3.7 cm with oral hydromorphone and 4 cm with oral morphine, despite oral hydromorphone provides no statistical significant benefit over oral morphine in RMNP.
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