Concerns about opiates: Information for patients and carers

This information is sourced from Macmillan and Marie Curie

Concerns about opiates (such as Morphine, Oxycodone and Fentanyl) are common.

Addiction is really rare when a strong painkiller is used in the right dose to relieve pain. 

Morphine and related drugs, when used in the right dose, do not shorten life but can actually enhance quality of life. If pain is controlled, appetite is better, and life will feel more worthwhile.

Side effects such as nausea and drowsiness are common when strong painkillers are started, or when the dose is increased - but these side effects wear off after a day or two.

You can legally drive when on opiates if your driving is not impaired. It is best to avoid driving when first starting opioids or if the dose has just gone up. Do carry a copy of the prescription in your car. Please review the leaflet Harlington Hospice: Guidelines for driving if taking strong medications which gives more information (see Downloads).

People worry that if morphine is used early in an illness, then it may not work if the pain gets worse. This isn't true. The dose can be increased or switched to another strong pain killer. 

The 4 minute video below from Dr Pete Nightingale explains the different types of drugs related to morphine and how they can be safely managed to treat pain effectively at the end of life. He also discusses common myths about morphine.

Sources

Marie Curie - Pain relief and common side effects

Published 13th May 2021

Share

Downloads

Related Services

24 hour Advice Line Michael Sobell Hospice
Close

24 hour Advice Line Michael Sobell Hospice

T. 0203 824 1268

Offers support and advice on palliative care issues to GPs, Care Homes, District Nurses and hospital doctors.

It is also an Advice Line for patients and families who live in Hillingdon and need advice on any aspect of palliative care. 

The Advice Line is answered by hospice nurses in the Inpatient Unit and queries are escalated to the on-call palliative medical team if needed.

Brent North Community Palliative Care Team - based at St Luke's
Close

Brent North Community Palliative Care Team - based at St Luke's

T. 020 8382 8013

North Brent Community Specialist Palliative Care Nurse team provides advice and visiting to palliative care patients in North Brent. The team is based at St Lukes Hospice.

Areas: Queensbury, Fryent, Welsh Harp, Barnhill, Kenton, Northwick Park, Preston, Sudbury, Wembley Central, Alperton, Tokyngton

The team can be contacted for referrals Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 4.30pm. 

After 4.30pm the Out of Hours Telephone Advice line 020 8382 8000 operates and calls will be taken by a nurse on St Lukes inpatient unit

Referral form for clinician use only.

Community Specialist Palliative Care Referral Form V3 (PDF)
Community Palliative Care Team - based at Meadow House Hospice
Close

Community Palliative Care Team - based at Meadow House Hospice

T. 020 8967 5179

W. http://meadowhouse.lnwh.nhs.uk/our-services/community-team/

The Community Specialist Palliative Care Nurse Team provides advice and visiting to palliative care patients in Ealing and Hounslow. The team are based at Meadow House Hospice

The team can be contacted for referrals Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm. Weekends 9.00am to 5.00pm.  

Between Monday to Friday 5.00pm and 8.30am, the Out of Hours Telephone Advice line 020 8102 5000 takes calls. Weekends and Bank Holidays 5.00pm to 9.00am.

Referral form for clinician use only.

Community Specialist Palliative Care Referral Form V3 (PDF)
Community Palliative Care Team - based at St. John's Hospice
Close

Community Palliative Care Team - based at St. John's Hospice

T. 020 7806 4040

St. John's Hospice provides advice and visiting palliative care patients for some parts of Central London.

Referrals can be made Monday to Sunday 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Referral form for clinician use only.

Community Specialist Palliative Care Referral Form V3 (PDF)
Community Palliative Care Team (South) - Royal Trinity
Close

Community Palliative Care Team (South) - Royal Trinity

T. 020 7787 1062

Royal Trinity Hospice (South) provides advice and visiting palliative care patients of Hammersmith and Fulham, Central London and West London.

They can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Referral form for clinician use only.

Community Specialist Palliative Care Referral Form V3 (PDF)
Harrow Community Palliative Care
Close

Harrow Community Palliative Care

T. 0208 382 8084

Harrow Community Specialist Palliative Care Team (LNWHT) provides advice and visiting to palliative care patients in Harrow.

They can be contacted Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 4.30pm.

Out of Hours the Pall24 Helpline can be used 3000 200 224

Referral form for clinician use only.

Community Specialist Palliative Care Referral Form V3 (PDF)
Pembridge Community Palliative Care Team (North)
Close

Pembridge Community Palliative Care Team (North)

T. 0208 102 5383 / 0208 102 5000 (out of hours)

Pembridge Community Palliative Nurse Team (North) provides advice and visiting palliative care patients of Hammersmith and Fulham, Central London and West London.

They can be contacted Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm.

Referral form for clinician use only.

Community Specialist Palliative Care Referral Form V3 (PDF)

Related Articles

15th February 2024

Constipation caused by medicines: Information for patients and carers

Feedback