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Oramorph and side effects

Posted 20 Jan 2015 at 11:20

Hi all,

It's been a while since I posted - Dad has just finished 6 months of chemotherapy which he dealt with very well, after the initial side effects of his dose he was better than he's been in while. Unfortunately, a few weeks after his final dose, he has started to get lower back and stomach pains. He has Oramorph but if he takes the correct dose it leads to constipation, so he doesn't take enough and instead is suffering still.

Has anyone experienced these pains? He is T4M1N0 with a single hot spot at the base of his spine, which might be the cause of the back pain but I can't find an explanation for the stomach pain. All blood and urine tests came back negative (which was a relief, I should say!) so the only course of action suggested by GP was pain relief, which as I said above is causing it's own issues.

It's so frustrating to have him come through chemo (which appears to have done some good) and be sidelined with this pain, apparently without cause. Is there another effective pain medication that he could try?

Thanks - I hope today is a good day for you and your loved ones.



Posted 20 Jan 2015 at 18:22

Have you asked if radiotherapy can be used to treat the area ?

Posted 21 Jan 2015 at 00:22

Hi I kale,
If not done already, ask the GP for a referral to your local macmillan team or hospice. These services are not only for end-of-life care - they can provide all sorts of help and assistance to patients and their families. Generally speaking, they are also much more knowledgeable about pain control and some run pain clinics where they can try different combinations of meds to get the balance right.

I think it is a myth that all pain can always be controlled but in this day and age, we do expect that people can be made more comfortable.

Edited by member 21 Jan 2015 at 00:25  | Reason: Not specified

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

Posted 21 Jan 2015 at 00:27

An afterthought - when was his last scan or review with the onco. Do you know that the constipation is definitely caused by the oramorph and not linked to the pain? Is it possible that he has a blockage or the tumour is pressing on his bowel?

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

Posted 21 Jan 2015 at 19:19

Lyn is right to get this checked out, but I have heard on several occasions that pain killers can cause severe constipation (Tramadol for one)...a point noted by a few of us when comparing the after effects of different operations.

It is vital that your Dad's pain is relieved by taking the full dose of oramorph, could he try something separate for the constipation that does not enter the blood stream and stays in the bowels like lactulose for example? Of course he will need to drink lots of water to help this along? Might be worth asking a local pharmacist as if you can find a good one they have a wealth of knowledge on drugs.

Best wishes, hope you can get something sorted out.



Posted 01 Feb 2015 at 22:40

Hi all,


Thank you for your replies. It all came to a head yesterday - my father woke up in excruciating pain and was rushed to hospital by ambulance for a CT scan. Results showed an enlarged kidney which was causing some of the pain - a catheter has been put in place to help with that. More worrying, this evening, my dad has been told he will have an operation tomorrow to remove some tumour from his spine and insert rods. This has all come as quite a shock to my poor dad. I don't know if he has full spinal cord compression but there was obviously enough of concern on his scan that the doctors have decided to act. I assume that the operation will hopefully reduce my dad's back pain but I am scared at what the future holds for my dad's mobility if the surgeon is unable to get the tumour out.

I suppose the moral of this story is - if you or your loved ones start suffering back pain, don't be fobbed off with pain killers - insist on a scan.

K x x

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