Morphine prescription to terminally ill patients with lung cancer and dyspnea: French physicians’ attitudes

Marc K. Bendiane, MSC, Patrick Peretti-Watel, PhD, Herve Pegliasco, MD, Roger Favre, PhD, Anne Galinier, MD, Jean-Marc Lapiana, MD, Yolande Obadia, MD


This study aimed to investigate factors associated with analgesic use of morphine in end-of-life care. French general practitioners (GPs) and oncologists (N = 719) were asked whether they would prescribe morphine asfirst-line therapy to patients with terminal lung cancer suffering from dyspnea associated with cough and great anxiety. Overall, 54 percent of oncologists and 40percent of GPs stated that they would prescribe morphine in the presented case. This prescriptive attitude correlated with physicians’ age, professional back-ground, communication skills, and attitude toward terminally ill patients. The findings of this study indicate that improving analgesic use of opioids in end-of-life care is not only a matter of enhancing technical skills acquired through training or experience but also a matter of improving communication and empathy between physicians and patients.


morphine, dyspnea, end-of-life care, lung cancer, France

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