U.S. Troops Using Pain-killing Lollipops to Ease Soldier Pain

USA Today –  Marine units in Afghanistan now have a new tool for their soldiers who have  a severe battlefield injury to numb the pain.

“It’s known as a “morphine lollipop,” said Rear Adm. Michael Anderson, the top Navy medical officer to the Marine Corps.

The active ingredient in the lollipop is the drug fentanyl, a painkiller far more powerful than morphine.

The powerful candy with fentanyl comes in a berry-flavored lozenge atop a plastic stick that is inserted into a Marine’s mouth near his cheek.

As the injured person sucks on the lozenge, the fentanyl dissolves into his nervous system and is absorbed quickly throughout the injured soldier’s body.

Anderson says special op forces, including personnel assigned to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, have been using these painkillers for quite a while.

Studies show that on battlefield pain control that during “the subsequent shock that can ensue as we inject the morphine -1/8 blood profusion doesn’t allow the morphine to get throughout the body because they’re injecting into a large muscle in the periphery which may be constricted,” he said.

Using the morphine candy is an effective means of controlling pain, and it will continue to be carried by soldiers.   More importantly, the  lollipop gives them another option that is quicker to control the pain because it is given in an area where blood flow is not usually an issue: the mouth.

The lollipop also is useful when a patient’s vital signs begin to drop.

“It’s hard to take the morphine out once you’ve done an injection, but you can take the lollipop away,” Anderson said.

The DEA says the intravenous painkiller was first developed for cancer patients, and has been around for decades and is about 80 times more potent than morphine.