Patients with intractable angina pectoris despite optimal drug therapy, who are not candidates for revascularization procedures, pose a very difficult problem. We evaluated the role of chronic opioid therapy in four such patients. The patients (mean age 79.5 years) were treated by low doses (mean 40 mg/day) of controlled-release oral morphine (CRM) for 1 to 5 years. The treatment was followed by a marked decline in the rate of admissions and hospitalization periods. The number of admissions decreased from a mean of 6 during the year prior to CRM therapy to 1.5 the following year. The duration of hospitalization for angina pectoris during these periods decreased from a mean of 42 ± 35 days to 6 ± 10 days (p < 0.05). Side effects were negligible and consisted mainly of lactulose-responsive constipation. We suggest that prolonged oral morphine therapy may be administered with good efficacy and no significant side effects in selected patients with intractable angina pectoris. (C) U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee 2000.
- Intractable angina pectoris
- Oral morphine