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Blinded patient preference for morphine compared to placebo in the setting of chronic refractory breathlessness – an exploratory study

Ferreira, Diana H.; Silva, José P.; Quinn, Stephen; Abernethy, Amy P.; Johnson, Miriam J.; Oxberry, Stephen G.; Currow, David C.


Diana H. Ferreira

José P. Silva

Stephen Quinn

Amy P. Abernethy

Stephen G. Oxberry

David C. Currow


Context Patients’ preference for morphine therapy has received little attention in the setting of chronic refractory breathlessness. However, this is one important factor in considering longer term therapy. Objectives The aim of this secondary analysis is to explore blinded patient preference of morphine compared to placebo for this indication and to define any predictors of preference. Methods Data were pooled from three randomized, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled studies of morphine (four days each) in chronic refractory breathlessness. Blinded patient preferences were chosen at the end of each study. A multivariable regression model was used to establish patient predictors of preference. Results Sixty-five participants provided sufficient data (60 males; median age 74 years; heart failure 55%, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 45%; median Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 2). Forty-three percent of participants preferred morphine (32% placebo and 25% no preference). Morphine preference and younger age were strongly associated: odds ratio = 0.85, 95% confidence interval 0.78, 0.93; P


Ferreira, D. H., Silva, J. P., Quinn, S., Abernethy, A. P., Johnson, M. J., Oxberry, S. G., & Currow, D. C. (2016). Blinded patient preference for morphine compared to placebo in the setting of chronic refractory breathlessness – an exploratory study. Journal of pain and symptom management, 51(2), 247-254 .

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 6, 2015
Online Publication Date Oct 24, 2015
Publication Date 2016-02
Deposit Date Nov 17, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Journal of pain and symptom management
Print ISSN 0885-3924
Electronic ISSN 1873-6513
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 51
Issue 2
Pages 247-254
Keywords Patient preference, Palliative care, Breathlessness, COPD, Morphine, Randomized controlled trial
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Journal of pain and symptom management, 2016, v.51, issue 2.


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© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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