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Late Night: Sister Morphine

The FDA backed down today, after pleas from hospice workers, and canceled a block on an unapproved liquid morphine that helps the terminally ill.

Bowing to the pleas of hospice experts, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has backed off its intent to remove from the market an unapproved liquid morphine painkiller given to dying patients.

Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, deputy director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told the Associated Press Thursday that the morphine liquid will remain on the market until replaced by an approved version or some other equivalent therapy.

A big thanks to the FDA for being so responsive.

[Throckmorton] told AP, reaction from hospice experts and others "helped us understand" that some patients need the unapproved version.

Dying is bad enough, to die in physical pain is something we can prevent, and should.

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    Good move. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Dalton Hoffine on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 12:29:58 AM EST
    Not used to the FDA being as quick to respond as this--very pleased to hear about this.

    I am NOT pleased about something my Congressperson from Alabama decided to do today. (R)Spencer Bachus-AL-6, has apparently decided to make a list of fellow House members that he has declared socialists, apparently taking a cue from Michelle Bachmann's little remark a couple weeks ago. For those of you unfamiliar, she asked that the media investigate her fellow Congresspeople to see which ones were "pro-American and anti-American." Bachus has found 17 thus far that are socialists, but doesn't want to name any names yet until his investigations are complete.

    McCarthyism is not cute or cool or funny to me. This will score him points with his home base, which voted for President Bush by a larger margin than any other district in the nation in 2004. I am somewhat ashamed to have my residency there, and am glad that I am at college in a different state instead. It's deplorable to me, and I want to do something about it. No one's even run against this guy in ten years, and I doubt even after this stunt that he'll get any competition. Urgh. It makes me want to pull my hair out.

    In my area (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Cream City on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 07:52:54 AM EST
    it's considered a compliment to be a Socialist, after half a century of Socialist mayors, alders, and others who worked hard and well -- as was pointed out in the local paper just this week.  So may this new McCarthyism land with a thud throughout other parts of this land, too.

    Parent
    Yes indeed (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Mikeb302000 on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 03:13:10 AM EST
    Yes indeed the poor folks suffering with treatable pain should get all the help we can give them.

    i guess they were concerned (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 12:18:14 AM EST
    that the terminally ill might become addicted.

    Believe it or not (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by sj on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 09:24:56 AM EST
    That has been cited as a concern.  I don't know if it's still true today, but it was when my sister's father-in-law was dying of cancer.  They wouldn't up his dosage because of the danger of addiction.  It was policy.

    Instead, he died in terrible, terrible pain. She and her husband were both devastated.  And very angry.

    Parent

    There is another issue (none / 0) (#11)
    by hairspray on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 12:23:22 PM EST
    although your point is well taken.  There is a problem of what dosage will finally put the person into respiratory failure.  Thin line in some cases and it goes back to the stupidity of the euthanasia argument.  Long ago the old country doc would prescribe a very high dose to be used when they thought the patient couldn't "take" the pain anymore.  Then came all the wrangling about giving too much, and killing the poor guy and of course, liability.

    Parent
    I don't understand (none / 0) (#4)
    by NYShooter on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 03:56:14 AM EST
    What is the problem with the morphine that's being now following surgery?

    Is this new liquid morphine better? More effective?
    Tolerated better....what?

    As I understand (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Bemused on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 06:24:05 AM EST
      The liquid morphine product  at issue is a concentrated solution  that can be adminstered orally by people not licensed or trained to administer injections. It is said to provide faster relief than less concentrated solutions or tablet formulations. So, in hospice or home setting  it can provide needed relief that would not be possible without either summoning higher trained health care workers or transporting a patient to them.

    Parent
    not sure if this is open thread, but... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Bemused on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 07:02:21 AM EST
      more DOJ misconduct

      Prosecutors have  potential witnesses to record defense lawyers and then fail to disclose.

    Kinda sad... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 09:07:59 AM EST
    that this was even up for debate, at least the FDA listened to reason.

    As far as I'm concerned if you wanna go out with an 8-ball and a fifth of Jameson, your death bed entitles you.

    agreed. (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by cpinva on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 09:13:21 AM EST
    As far as I'm concerned if you wanna go out with an 8-ball and a fifth of Jameson, your death bed entitles you.

    i'd add a carton of your favorite smokes to that list.

    Parent

    Yup, study after study (none / 0) (#12)
    by NYShooter on Fri Apr 10, 2009 at 04:34:39 PM EST
    show that people come to grips with, and accept the reality of their impending death. What they fear more than anything is the prolonged, unbearable pain that accompanies a lingering death, AND the profound indignity they feel would be associated with a terrible ending such as we're talking about here.

    I can't begin to express my utter disgust with medical professionals, especially many doctors, who only concern themselves with the clinical treatment of the patient, but ignore the agony the patients must endure. I've heard doctors telling nurses who ask for pain medication for their post-op patients, "pain doesn't kill; it'll go away."

    And,let's never forget the chilling effect the DEA has on prescribing pain meds. Can you imagine doctors having to decide whether to treat a patient's pain, or answering DEA buttheads who seem to love putting doctors in jail.

    Parent

    another reason, as if one more (none / 0) (#13)
    by cpinva on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 12:22:08 AM EST
    And,let's never forget the chilling effect the DEA has on prescribing pain meds. Can you imagine doctors having to decide whether to treat a patient's pain, or answering DEA buttheads who seem to love putting doctors in jail.

    was necessary, to do away with the DEA. a superfluous agency created by nixon, to give the appearance of "fighting" the "war on drugs". not all drugs mind you, only those the pharmeceutical companies weren't making money off of.