How should morphine be administered in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD)?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Morphine dosing has to be individualized. The drug should be given intravenously, hourly at first. Once the effective dose is established, it should be administered every 3 hours. After 24-48 hours, as pain is controlled, equivalent doses of sustained-release oral morphine should be given.

When marked improvement occurs, the patient may be discharged home on sustained-release oral morphine, and the dose is reduced gradually over several days. Morphine elixir can be used to control breakthrough pain.


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