The double effect of pain medication: separating myth from reality

Title

The double effect of pain medication: separating myth from reality

Creator

Fohr SA

Publisher

Journal Of Palliative Medicine

Date

1998

Subject

Humans; Analgesics; Intention; Double Effect Principle; Suicide; Death and Euthanasia; Euthanasia; Palliative Care/ethics; Pain/drug therapy; Opioid/adverse effects/therapeutic use; Assisted; Refusal to Treat; Respiratory Insufficiency/chemically induced

Description

The principle of double effect is used to justify the administration of medication to relieve pain even though it may lead to the unintended, although foreseen, consequence of hastening death by causing respiratory depression. Although a review of the medical literature reveals that the risk of respiratory depression from opioid analgesic is more myth than fact and that there is little evidence that the use of medication to control pain hastens death, the belief in the double effect of pain medication remains widespread. Applying the principle of double effect to end-of-life issues perpetuates this myth and results in the undertreatment of physical suffering at the end of life. The concept of double effect of opioids also has been used in support of legalization of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.
1998

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Type

Journal Article

Citation List Month

Backlog

Pages

315-328

Issue

4

Volume

1

Citation

Fohr SA, “The double effect of pain medication: separating myth from reality,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed October 20, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/12056.

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