Morphine is widely prescribed for patients with cancer, although a number of attitudes have been cited as barriers to its use, including fear, addiction and associations with death. The aim of this study was to explore the nature of these beliefs, and assess the extent to which these attitudes exist in a general practice patient population that may require morphine in the future.
A 30-item survey was distributed through general practices in Victoria, Australia.
Of the 379 questionnaires distributed, 290 were collected (76.5%). Participants were predominantly neutral on questions regarding the effect of morphine on the duration of life. Morphine was seen to be prescribed responsibly (73.5%), even while most perceived its potential for addiction (69.7%). Participants with experience of morphine use had more negative perceptions regarding its efficacy.
Conversations regarding morphine use should include a discussion about the beliefs and experiences of the individual, many of which may reinforce the utility of morphine.