Majority of cancer patients in India still have to endure insufferable pain despite seeking treatment in the best of hospitals. This is especially in the case of terminal cancer patients. Cancer that has recurred or spread makes the pain even worse because cancer destroys tissues and causes tumors which lead to excruciating almost constant pain.
Many patients with cancer pain become tolerant to Opioids during long-term therapy. Therefore, increased doses may be used to relieve pain. This not only affects their day to day functioning but also takes a toll on them psychologically. As most patients with cancer pain need to receive pain medication on a fixed schedule to manage the pain and prevent it from getting worse, the dependence on the drug increases. The Doctor prescribes a dose of the narcotic medication with the regular fixed-schedule opioids to control pain that occurs between the scheduled doses. The time period between doses depends on which drug the Doctor prescribes. The dose may vary to control the pain with the least side effects. A balance needs to be struck between pain relief and side effects by gradually adjusting the dose.
Traditional forms of medication to treat such patients are through oral pills. They could prove to be painful for a terminally ill person because even swallowing medicines can be a challenge.
For example, a patient who is being treated for lung cancer may not like to take his medication because taking it orally and swallowing hurts his throat.
Intramuscular injections are another way to give medication to cancer patients but even they can prove to be painful for them. Their bodies are already fighting cancer around the clock; giving them medication in a less painful way such as through infusion under the skin via a patch can make all the difference.
Fentanyl administered through injections can cause fatigue and daytime drowsiness. For this the medication constantly needs to be adjusted as the body starts to get used to a certain dose. The high intake of such medicines could lead towards addiction and even tolerance towards them. The same Fentanyl medication can be delivered through a patch as well which can provide a steady release of medication throughout the day.