When is hospitalization indicated for the management of pain in 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

Pain that does not respond to the above measures almost always requires hospitalization. In such cases, treat with morphine or other major narcotic analgesics in doses sufficient to provide a reasonable degree of relief. Continuous infused morphine is most effective. Attempting to resolve pain by providing 1-2 doses of parenteral narcotics in the emergency department is inadvisable, since moderately severe sickle cell pain is expected to persist for several days.


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