Morphine, when used for treating patients with acute pancreatitis, could be more risky than previously suspected

Juan Iovanna, Maria Cecilia Mallmann

Abstract

Acute pancreatitis (AP) refers to an inflammatory disease of the pancreas. AP typically develops as a consequence of gallstones migration or a moderate to considerable chronic alcohol drinking. The majority of the attacks of AP do not lead to complications, and most people recover completely with simple medical attention. Mild AP typically resolves with supportive care, which requires only monitoring, drugs for decreasing pain, and infusion of intravenous fluids and electrolytes. However, a little proportion of patients, developing a severe AP, has a more serious illness that requires intensive medical attention. This is because severe AP is associated with high morbidity and mortality due essentially to the multisystem organ failure and the development of secondary infection of the necrotic tissue that occurs as a consequence of the intestinal flora translocation. This is why people with severe AP must be closely monitored in an intensive care unit.