, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 649-652

Hypomagnesemia as a possible explanation behind episodes of severe pain in cancer patients receiving palliative care

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Abstract

Within an oncology setting, certain chemotherapy drugs, such as cisplatin, may lead to magnesium loss causing nephropathy. Neurological and cardiovascular symptoms caused by hypomagnesaemia are well known. The relationship between serious hypomagnesemia and severe pain is not well documented but nevertheless, when faced with unexplained episodes of pain which do not respond to powerful analgesics, it is important to review blood magnesium levels. We present two cases of opioid-refractory pain attacks. Patients received drugs which have been linked to hypomagnesemia. In both cases, endovenous magnesium replacement led to a drastic improvement in pain management.