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Took morphine injection and having soreness in arm. What could be the reason?

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Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist
Practicing since : 1983
Answered : 1337 Questions
I injected morphine (I'm a cancer patient and thought this would work better) now I have a slightly very sore arm, what should I do. I don't want to tell my Dr. because he'll just cut me off. Thanks
Posted Sun, 24 Nov 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger 40 minutes later
Brief Answer: Two possible causes. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thank you for using Healthcare Magic. There are two possible causes of the pain. Firstly, as the injection of morphine was not under medical supervision, did you take precautions to ensure that you administered it in a sterile way? You do not mention how long ago the injection was. There is a possibility that you may have a superficial infection in the veins of your arm. If this is the case, you may also have a temperature. Secondly, morphine can cause localized redness and inflammation with some itching. This is a recognised side-effect and will reduce over the coming hours. It is not serious. I would suggest you wait and see how you feel over the next 12-24 hours. If you feel hot, develop a fever or chills then you do need to see a doctor for treatment of the infection. If there is a possibility that the needle and syringe were not sterile then you should be tested for HIV and Hep B. I understand your need for strong pain relief but you are putting yourself at risk by injecting morphine without medical supervision. I hope this is of help. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Regards, Dr K A Pottinger, MBChB FRCA
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Follow-up: Took morphine injection and having soreness in arm. What could be the reason? 1 hour later
thanks, and I did use precautions, sterile water, new unused needle, wiped the area with alcohol. It did raise a small bump but wat bothers me is the pain radiates from the injection site to my wrist, it's been just over 24 hours so I'll wait another day and see if it gets any better or worse. Any other advice would be appreciated. This will be the first and last time I try this nonsense. Thanks XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger 2 hours later
Brief Answer: Not serious. Doesn't need medical attention. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thank you for the further information. I'm glad you took sterile precautions. With this in mind I think that there is probably not an infection developing. As you have a small bump in the area I think the most likely cause of the pain is local trauma from the injection. This will have caused a hematoma which is a small collection of blood. This is not serious and will disappear over the next few days. It is quite common to get this localized trauma with an injection and if you are not used to injecting yourself then this makes it a little more likely. This isn't something that needs medical attention. Place a warm or cold compress over the area. One or other of these is likely to help the discomfort. I hope this helps. Regards, Dr K A Pottinger, MBChB FRCA
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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