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Painkillers Do Not Shorten Dying Patients' Lives,,

According to some British researhers increasing doses of painkillers to ease the agony of terminally ill patients does not shorten their lives.Some health professionals have criticized the practice, comparing it to euthanasia, but doctors at St Christopher's Hospice in London claim patients receiving higher doses of drugs such as morphine live just as long as those who do not.

In research published in The Lancet medical journal, they compared the doses of painkillers given to 238 dying patients to determine the impact on their survival."There is no connection between competent symptom control and euthanasia," said Nigel Sykes, one of the authors of the study."This study dispels the myth that good pain control at the end of life means killing the patient. People should not fear that taking morphine for pain need shorten life, and any doctor with such a worry about one of their patients should seek specialist palliative care advice," he added.

Sykes and his co-author Andrew Thorns found no difference in the frequency or type of death -- whether it was sudden, gradual or peaceful -- between the patients given more painkillers or others whose dosage was not changed.

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