An example oral opioid switch from morphine to oxycodone

Samantha Owen, Principal Pharmacist Critical Evaluation and UKMi Medicines Q&A Lead, Southampton Medicines Advice Service, University Hospital of Southampton NHS Foundation TrustPublished Last updated See all updates

An example worked scenario to support you when switching or advising on switching between morphine and other oral opioids in cancer and palliative care

Refer to our full advice first

If you’ve not done so already, refer first to our full advice on morphine and opioid switching included in this series.

Scenario: morphine to oxycodone switch

Patient is taking modified-release morphine tablets at a dose of 30mg twice daily with morphine oral solution at a dose of 10mg 4 hourly when required (‘prn’) for breakthrough pain (patient reports needing to take this on average twice daily). Their consultant suggests to switch morphine to oxycodone.

The steps below provide an example of how a healthcare professional may apply Switching between oral morphine and other oral opioids in adult palliative cancer care patients to determine the appropriate dose of oxycodone to prescribe in this scenario.

Change history

  1. Minor amendments following user feedback
  1. Published