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Medication Management

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Myth: Increased Doses of Painkillers Cause Death

By Jennifer B. Buckley

(Page 2 of 2)

Another myth concerning pain control is that over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen, are much safer than opioids. This perception is incorrect and according to Ms. Johnson, “Large doses of ibuprofen are more dangerous and more harmful to the stomach and liver, than we realize. Over-the-counter does not mean safer.” Non-prescription pain relievers should be administered with caution and still may not relieve pain properly. 

Suffering doesn’t have to be a necessary part of death. Ms. Johnson comments, “What we know now about pain management is that, 95% of cancer pain can and should be relieved through simple means, like morphine. In the past we were told not to medicate, that was then and this is now.” She believes that drugs do not hasten death but pain may hasten death.

Through good hard information, like The Lancet report, the perception of treating pain by care professionals and the public could transform. Family caregivers may want to communicate with their doctors their interest in obtaining more information about certain pain medications; because it is possible not all care professionals have read the new research themselves. According to the study, our loved-ones do not have to spend the last days of their lives in pain any more.


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