Dilaudid or Morphine

Hi everyone,
Can I have your opinion on what is a better drug for mom's cancer. I'm reading different sites and some go with the dilaudid and some go with morphine. I also read with morphine that a lot of people get sick with it. As of right now the 4 mg plus a 1/2 seem to be helping her but that could change at anytime.
Any input is much appreciated.
My Prayers to all of us

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They are both great drugs for relieving severe pain. Patients do not always respond the same, so I think the best answer to your question is "Whichever one relieves her pain the best". If at some point, the morphine seems to not be working well you could try switching to the dilaudid, but as long as it's working for her I'd stay with it. It is considered the gold standard for treating cancer pain. However there are a few people who don't respond to it or don't tolerate it well and for them, dilaudid may be better. To my surprise I am one of them.

Also there are quite a few options for managing nausea if that becomes a problem for her so I'd talk with the nurse or doctor about that before I just asked them to stop the morphine. Not ever antiemetic works equally well for everone either, so sometimes some trial and error is required.

Good luck,


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Well, I have lung cancer, just had surgery to remove the tumor and half of my lung- Morphine doesn't work after awhile (at least for me it didn't) and it makes you sweat and itch........now dilaudin did BUT it is narcotic so they took me off of it after a month and I started taking neurotin (nerve pain) which to me is an absolute God-sen- it works like the dinkins. It depends on what's going on- if she just had surgery to removed a lobe or two, use dilaudin until the doctors will no longer allow her to take them. I was given a morphine drip in the hospital but the pain was terrible- it didn't help even when they shot me with it in my arm???? Best of Luck, Frances

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Gregg started with dilaudid then went to methadone once on hospice & I'll say, the methadone really helped him. He was able to function with minimal pain. Remember, everyone is different and his cancer had spread almost everywhere including the spine, hip and methadone works really well for bone pain.


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Dilaudid was better for me in the hospital. Morphine turned me into a tyrant and was not relieving my pain. I was having hallucinations and it generally made me nuts.

After I was switched I was fine. My doc said I obviously am allergic to it. That was his only explanation. You may be fine on either one. Remember, we all react differently with meds.
God Bless,
Marylou ♥

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Dilaudid is 8 times stronger than morphine. They are both narcotics. My husband developed a bowel impaction, twice, on morphine. Dilaudid made me vomit violently. Everyone is different.

As everyone else has said, if you find something that works stay with it until you need to change to get relief from the pain.

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They are both potent opiates (narcotics) that can relieve severe pain. They both can cause nausea and constipation (ALL opiates do). They both might work great for your mom or one might work better than the other but you cannot go by anyone else's experience. Everyone responds a little differently.

She can develop tolerance to both of them (and ALL opiates) if she takes them regularly. But for a cancer patient that is not a concern. It just means is that as time goes by she may need more (larger doses) to get relief. Don't worry about that as long as she is getting pain relief.

As someone mentioned constipation can become a huge problem so you need to watch out for that. But she can use measures to prevent this. General recommendations are to start with lots of fluids and fiber in the diet. Additional fiber in the form of Miralax or Metamucil is very helpful. Stool softeners can be purchased over the counter and they are wonderful for helping prevent constipation with no/minimal side effects. Only use the more potent laxitives for severe constipation and try not to use them regulary as the bowel can become laxative dependent.

I don't know why doctors and nurses don't always remember to advise patients about this but it is such a common problem with pain meds - but can be prevented or managed well with preventive measures.

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Both have worked for me to relieve post surgical pain. I get "wired" on both. Some people it knocks out, not me. I get little to no rest on either.

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My father started with Oxycontin and Oxycodone for break through pain. We then went to liquid methadone and liquid morphine. Morphine can be dosed every 1-2 hours and they do raise the dose as needed. Once they found the right dose of methadone we rarely had to use the morphine. He also took xanax for anxiety.

Also, when I had my RLL I was on Dilaudid and got very sick from it.

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I understand that Methadone is being used a lot more for pain control. It can be given every 12 hours with good control and apparently does not build up a tolerance as fast as morphone. Supposedly Hospice is using it more - it is also cheaper, if copay etc. are a problem. I also understand it does not snow the person as much as morphine can - allowing more alert time.

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Post surgery I had morphine which did not control the pain just made me not really care it was there as much. The dilaudid was a godsend. It worked very well but did not last until the next dose. I had it iv in the hospital. When they sent me home with dilaudid pills they made me deathly sick and I could not take them. Had to change to lortab for pain at home.

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