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Opioid refractory pain is a common problem in pain management. Dexmedetomidine is suggested to have opioid-sparing effects, with well-described use in surgical and intensive care unit settings. Some authors advocate its benefit in reducing delirium. Its effects are thought to be exhibited through agonism of pre- and postsynpatic α-receptors in the central nervous system. It is more selective on α-receptors than clonidine, accounting for its relatively lower incidence of hypotension. Its use in sedation is favored because it does not depress the respiratory system. The main side effects reported include bradycardia. Twenty-eight-year-old woman with triple negative left breast cancer and a locally destructive tumor was admitted to hospice after exhausting her disease-directed therapy options. Her chief complaint was a throbbing, burning pain to the left chest wall, lower back, and bilateral lower extremities, rated 8/10 on a 10-point verbal scale. Multiple pharmacologic agents for pain, including patient-controlled analgesia infusions with adjuvant methadone and steroids, had failed to provide consistent pain management. Symptoms were difficult to control in the home setting, and she required multiple admissions to our inpatient hospice unit for pain management. She also developed episodes of delirium shortly after hospice admission. We attributed her symptoms to rapid disease progression. After failed pain control with opioids, ketamine, and lidocaine, we trialed a dexmedetomidine infusion. While on the infusion, her pain rating decreased to 0/10 and she had no delirium. Pain recurred soon after cessation of the infusion, initially rated 6/10. Dexmedetomidine is safe for opioid refractory pain in the hospice inpatient setting. However, its effects may not be sustained. There is potential for use in end-of-life care, with added benefit for possible control of delirium.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of palliative medicine
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Multicenter, double blind randomized controlled trial of fentanyl vs. fentanyl + dexmedetomidine as the initial regimen for maintenance of sedation in mechanically-ventilated, critically i...
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Persistent pain that is refractory to some or all forms of treatment.
A narcotic used as a pain medication. It appears to be an agonist at kappa opioid receptors and an antagonist or partial agonist at mu opioid receptors.
An opioid analgesic with actions and uses similar to those of MORPHINE, apart from an absence of cough suppressant activity. It is used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain, including pain in obstetrics. It may also be used as an adjunct to anesthesia. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p1092)
A method of examining and setting levels of payments.
A synthetic opioid that is used as the hydrochloride. It is an opioid analgesic that is primarily a mu-opioid agonist. It has actions and uses similar to those of MORPHINE. It also has a depressant action on the cough center and may be given to control intractable cough associated with terminal lung cancer. Methadone is also used as part of the treatment of dependence on opioid drugs, although prolonged use of methadone itself may result in dependence. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p1082-3)
Pain is a feeling (sharp or dull) triggered in the nervous system which can be transient or constant. Pain can be specific to one area of the body eg back, abdomen or chest or more general all over the body eg muscles ache from the flu. Without pain ...
Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage”. Some illnesses can be excruci...
Neurology - Central Nervous System (CNS)
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