It is standard now for doctors, dentists and other health care practitioners to ask patients about their allergy history. For most of us, knowing what we’re allergic to is something we carry around with us, often from childhood.
My mother, for example, was allergic to penicillin so from a young age I was drilled to tell doctors “I’m not sure, but my mother is allergic to penicillin,”on the off-chance that this allergy had been handed down.
The reason is obvious: allergies can run the gamut from being annoying and itchy to interfering with your every-day life and functioning, and can even become fatal.
So what happens if you’re in a situation where you’re in extreme pain and need something to get through the it while you, heal but are allergic to it? Oftentimes people are allergic to morphine, so what is its alternative, if any?
Morphine, a sedative, is very often used for the treatment of pain. While true morphine allergies are relatively rare, adverse responses to morphine are more common.
A “true” allergic reaction has to do with the immune system. If you have an immune system which does not respond well to morphine, alternate drugs, including a different class of opiates may be prescribed to handle the pain you’re experiencing.
Three different classes of opioids, which are commonly used in the treatment of pain are: phenanthrenes, phenylpiperidine, and phenylheptane. Morphine, codeine, as well as oxycodone, and hydrocodone all belong to the phenanthrenes class.
A patient may be prescribed a drug from another class of opiods, such as fentanyl, which is from the phenylpiperidine class, as a morphine alternative. Fortunately, if a patient suffers an adverse reaction to morphine or codeine, he or she will rarely exhibit the same symptoms from a drug in one of the other opioid classes.
If the allergy manifests itself as a skin rash, such as blisters or hives, you may be given a type of patch known as a diagnostic patch test. This will determine whether or not your rash is actually a result of taking morphine.
A morphine allergy symptom that can easily be overlooked is simple nasal congestion.