-- Question: I Am Afraid To Take My Morphine For Cancer Pain Because I Fear It Will Not Work When I Really Need It. What Should I Do?
Answer: One of the questions that patients and families often ask about the treatment of cancer pain is their concern is when they're taking analgesic drugs, particularly strong narcotic drugs like morphine, that they may become tolerant to them, or what the patient often says is that "it may not work when I really need it." I think we want to reassure patients that it will work when they need it. We can increase the dose, we can change the drugs, we can add combinations, but we want patients to be able to treat their pain early on in their illness, and to be assured that it will be equally effective at the end of their illness as they have advanced disease. We think that there really is a continuum of responsiveness to these drugs, and patients shouldn't be worried about the fact that they won't work when, quotes, "they really think they need them."