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Improved analgesia by correction of hypomagnesaemia?
  1. Séamus Coyle1,2 and
  2. Daniel Monnery3
  1. 1 Palliative Care Institute Liverpool, Cancer Research Centre, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2 Department of Palliative Medicine, St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust, Prescot, UK
  3. 3 Department of Palliative Medicine, Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Séamus Coyle, Palliative Care Institute Liverpool, Cancer Research Centre, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L3 9TA, UK; s.coyle{at}liverpool.ac.uk

Abstract

The role of magnesium as an analgesic in patients is unclear. Hypomagnesaemia is a common electrolyte abnormality, in the chronic state symptoms are insidious and often non-specific. It is often undiagnosed and thus untreated. There is evidence from animal studies that magnesium is involved in pain control including an animal model of hyperalgesia induced by hypomagnesaemia. We report two cases of patients admitted for pain control which improved when hypomagnesaemia was treated. Each case had metastatic cancer. Both were found on admission to have asymptomatic hypomagnesaemia and were treated with intravenous magnesium. Treatment for hypomagnesaemia resulted in an improvement in pain control such that analgesia was decreased. The incidence of hypomagnesaemia in palliative patients is unknown although it is thought to be common. These cases suggest that treating hypomagnesaemia may improve pain control.

  • hypomagnesaemia
  • magnesium replacement
  • pain
  • analgesia
  • palliative care

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Footnotes

  • Contributors SC and DM contributed to the writing of the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Next of kin consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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