General cancer discussions

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No. of entries: 11 | Posted on 6 Apr 2011 9:17 PM


  • Does morphine cause hallucinations? Or could it be the secondary liver cancer that my mum has? Or both?

    Tonight for the first time she was swatting flies that weren't there, hearing voices, saw things moving etc. then she was quite lucid, then off again, sounds awful but i had to hide myself laughing!

    The night before my dad who has early dementia had been on a boat? heard gun fire and had been rescued? ( been at the day centre)!

    Sometimes i feel like i'm in a scene from One flew over the cookoos nest!

    Laugh or greet! Gawd i laugh!

    Susan x


  • Hello

    Yes, the doctor told us that certain doses of morphine can cause hallucinations. Take care, Heather xx

  • Hi Susan,My mum became confused and misinterpreted events during the last week of her illness. Her eyes also appeared fixed then following the wall at times. I asked her if she was seeing things, which she denied it but I think she could have been.  All of this seemed to start when morphine was introduced. I was told the dose was too low to cause this to happen. I think in my mum's case it may have been a build up toxins in her body due to liver failure. That is not to say that it is not the morphine in your mum's case..Oh, you a thought is there any chance that she may have a urine infection????


  • Thanks to the two of you for your replies, Anne, i had both my mum and das eurine checked as they were nboth incontinent the other week, mum came back clear, but thanks.

    I just can't fathom it out, i don't think she is taking that much morphine, but i'm calling the doctor asap this morning, as he told her two tablets (10mg) morning and evening, then the nurse told her, (according to my mum) four tablets a day, so who know how much she has taken, no wonder she is confused!

    It kind of freaked me a bit yesterday, think if i start crying i won't bloody stop! :-(

    Susan x

  • Soo sorry, just noticed you name at the end DOH! Tracey and Heather my apoligies x

  • I had the most interesting experience on oromorph when I had my cancer treatment in hospital, It like your peripheral vision disappears in a tunnel fashion (probably the fly swatting) and you drift off to another dimension, your very lucid but really not bothered with the pain. Your hearing reduces, so you can sleep alot more effectively (in a busy ward, it helps) I had a particularly noisy oik in the bed opposite who insisted on unplugging his heart monitor and not switching it off when going to the loo (as he had been shown by the nurses) , so 3am you'd get a loud noise like a van reversing which disturbed an already difficult to find sleep, oromorph sorted all that out ,thank god :)
  • It might not be the morphine - although that can sometimes be the culprit and certainly causes an 'out of it' type aura but the build up of billirubin is maybe more likely due to liver failure. I would talk to palliative care team who will strategies for managing this. Tess x
  • Hi Susan

    When I was admitted to hospital with jaundice (a precursor to major surgery for cancer) I spent a month on an orthopoeadic ward with lots of women who were on oromorph - believe me it was like a script for a sitcom - lucid conversation one moment mingled with outrageous statements and conversations! It was hard not to laugh.

    Then I was unable to have an epidural for my op for Bile Duct Cancer, I was on morphine as the main painkiller whilst I was in HDU (4 days). My daughter, like you, found the whole episode rather hilarious, although worrying, as I hallucinated all of the time. I talked about every conspiracy theory going, they were out to get me, and in a most lucid way, or so I thought! I was constantly seeing cats and bright lights.

    Once on the surgical ward I was taken off morphine and prescribed Oxycontin which made a big difference, although for many weeks I recall reaching out to touch things that simply weren't there - i did know they weren't there but reached out on impulse. This lasted a while.

    I am actually a sane person in my 50s so I believe it was the medication rather than the symptoms of my illness that caused the hallucinations.

    Morphine seems to be the default pain relief, but my experience suggests that there are an awful lot of people it doesn't suit.

    Best of luck to you and your parents.


  • Jeez! my mum  was found by my dad this morning, she had fell in the living room! She said she got up at half two am, but her bed wasn't slept in and she was still clothed, i think she has dropped off in her chair, the woke this morning, tried to get out her chair and fell, or got up really early, made her bed then got dressed, who knows?

    Tonight there has been squirrels in the hospital, my husband breeds crocidiles, there is water on the ceiling, the 'man' at the top of the bed is making noises etc etc!

    Flippin heck, what a day! They think it is the morphine, and changed her over to a ? patch? I can't seem to pin down a doctor, how long does morphine stay in your system? I thought it was only 8-12 hours?

    Cheers Susan x


  • Hi Susan,

    Best guess would be the morphine- my mum had a syringe driver and saw pink elephants and thought everyone was stealing her money, possessions etc and trying to kill her - my dad being the chief culprit!

    I've had morphine several times myself after surgery and just recently when i had a bowel obstruction and was convinced staff had dead people in the next beds- as i was a nurse I could talk the talk and actually had them checking the two elderly ladies were alive!!! - they took me off morphine soon after (caused quite a lot of trouble in two days apparently trying to nurse the 'dead' people whilst attached to drips, monitors and catheters) and i can only remember because the nurses told me- wonderful stuff for the pain though! Hope you your mum settles with the patches.

    Polly x

  • Defo think now it is not the morphine, she has not had any for four days and still hallucinating, hearing voices etc.

    Really not funny anymore, they think that maybe the cancer has spread? Weirdest thing is she can count, remeber her birthdate, the month, the actual date the second world war broke out!

    WTF has happened to my mum???

    This, i think is the lowest i've felt! The only blessing is she is unaware of what she is like!

    Susan x