Mazumdar, A., Mishra, S., Bhatnagar, S., & Gupta, D. (2008). Intravenous morphine can avoid distressing constipation associated with oral morphine: A retrospective analysis of our experience in 11 patients in the palliative care in-patient unit. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care, 25, 282–284.doi: 10.1177/1049909108315913
To describe differences in bowel function with oral or IV opioids.
Patients who were admitted to a palliative inpatient unit for pain management had data retrospectively collected related to morphine-induced constipation. After IV morphine was administered and dose requirements were determined, patients were converted to oral morphine and then discharged.
The study has clinical applicability to end-of-life and palliative care.
This was a retrospective, descriptive study.
Visual analog scale
Patients on IV morphine were less likely to need laxative therapy to promote bowel function compared with patients on oral morphine. All patients on oral morphine needed laxative therapy.
Implications are limited because of the small sample size and other uncontrolled variables. More research is needed to determine whether IV morphine is less constipating than oral morphine and the applicability of this information in patient care.