05 March 2008

BLEG: Opiates and renal failure

Hi all,

As I mentioned, I'm suddenly in the position of helping coordinate my grandpa's palliative care. Since I'm not a clinician, I need to get up to speed on some of the pharmacology so that I can have meaningful discussions with the real doctors.

Thus I'd really appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction toward any resources on treating acute pain in patients with severe renal impairment/failure.

Here's an example of the sort of information I'm looking for:

After reading through a bunch of journals early this morning, it seems like there's pretty good reason to not give people with severe renal impairment/failure morphine or hydromorphone. Two of the metabolites don't clear very well and can build up to cause coma or respiratory failure (in fact, at least one of the dangerous metabolites --6MG I think-- doesn't really affect pain, so the danger well outlasts the analgesic effect of the dose).

Codeine is probably even worse. The evidence with oxycodone isn't entirely clear; fentanyl is probably okay. But methadone seems to be all around pretty safe.

These are just my impressions from a bunch of journal articles. But I feel like I can now intelligibly ask his doctors whether they might consider trying methadone instead of giving him morphine for breakthrough pains and then giving him nothing (occasionally APAP) for very long periods. I don't want to second-guess their judgment, but I do want to be able to understand the treatment options....

I'll appreciate anything you can recommend.

Thanks again.

[also, sorry that these posts are pretty sloppy. I'm posting from my phone outside the hospital.]


Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

I would recommend directing your questions to any one of three individuals (two of whom are MDs) over at Pallimed: A Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog http://www.pallimed.org/

I hope they can help you out.

All good wishes,

Anonymous said...

With the best wishes to your grandpa...

Did you research other opiat-like medecine? I personally try to understand Ultram (Tramadol), some information is stored on site Ultram Truth. Please, give me some feedback on this drug, if you know it from practical point of view.