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GeriPal - A Geriatrics and Palliative Care Podcast

Jan 16, 2020

Do opioids improve breathlessness? A simple question that unfortunately doesn't seem to have a simple answer. We get into the nitty-gritty of potential answers to this question with a preeminent researcher in this field, David Currow. David is a Professor of Palliative Medicine at University of Technology Sydney. His research has challenged common practices in Hospice and Palliative Care, including randomized control trials on oxygen for breathlessness, octreotide for malignant bowel obstruction, and antipsychotics for delirium in palliative care patients. His most recent study was published in Thorax titled "Regular, sustained-release morphine for chronic breathlessness: a multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial." It showed no differences between those that got sustained-release morphine and those that got placebo in regards to breathlessness, but the intervention arm did use less rescue immediate-release morphine. We talk to David about how to interpret these results, as well as what to make out of the broadened inclusion criteria and whether there was an issue with the primary outcome. Other articles we reference in the podcast include: * The safety study: No excess harms from sustained-release morphine: a randomised placebo-controlled trial in chronic breathlessness * And the oxycodone SA study: Controlled-Release Oxycodone vs. Placebo in the Treatment of Chronic Breathlessness-A Multisite Randomized Placebo Controlled Trial. by Eric Widera, @ewidera