Patients in palliative care often require powerful pain medications but relieving one pain can often lead to another
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Sherri Dmyterko: For Canadians with advance illnesses such as incurable cancer important pain medication such opioids are needed, but sadly a common side effect is often serious and painful constipation, but Health Canada has taken a major step towards bringing dignity and comfort to these patients in palliative care by being the first country in the world to approve a treatment called Relistor. Doctor Yvon Beauchamp is a Canadian physician specializing in Palliative care. Yvon Beauchamp: As you take a 100 patients taking morphine for severe pain I would say that 90 to 95% of my patients suffer from constipation of being opioid within used. Sherri Dmyterko: The Relistor is the only treatment of it's kind that has been shown to work quickly while allowing for pain medication to do its job. Yvon Beauchamp: Relistor works this way, when we give morphine, we give morphine and it binds to a receptor that's called the new receptor and in the brain this will cut the pain but we do add those same receptor in the intestine, so the morphine that we gave to cut the pain will also provoke constipation. So this is a what all kind of stuff it will do. Sherri Dmyterko: Sharon Baxter is Executive Director of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. Sharon Baxter: Canadians in Hospice Palliative Care Program and Services have given up in most cases curative treatment and already are seeking comfort treatment and with comfort treatment it comes dignity. So you want to have those attended to and do you want your pain as into unmanageably controlled. Sherri Dmyterko: With 87% of patients with advance illness in Palliative care taking pain medication for long periods of time, the serious and painful side affects of constipation takes a toll on them and their loved ones. Relistor gives palliative care patients a better quality of life and provides families and friends with the satisfaction that the dignity and comfort of their loved ones is being preserved; Sherri Dmyterko reporting.