What procedure is followed in UK for using heroin in healthcare?
If heroin (diacetylmorphine) is used in a hospital for pain management certain procedures has to be followed by the hospital. Heroin is “classed” as class-A controlled drug in UK. There is strict guideline for use, storage and destruction of heroin in hospital or any other medical setup. When heroin (available as Diamorphine) is prescribed in hospital or any other healthcare setup, heroin must be administered by a doctor or the administration has to be supervised by two people who must complete and sign a CD register detailing the name of the patient, time and date of administration, dose, and route of administration. These guidelines and precautions are used for preventing diversion of prescription heroin to black market to heroin addicts.
Heroin in some centers is also used for maintenance therapy for treatment of drug addicts, although many countries do not allow this practice. It is seen to be superior to methadone used for maintenance therapy for treatment of drug addiction. Methadone is a legal drug in most countries.
Why heroin is used instead of morphine?
In the countries where heroin is available legally for medical use, most doctors prefer heroin over morphine for treatment of severe painful conditions, because heroin is more lipid (fat) soluble and for this reason can reach the target tissue more easily than morphine and it is more potent. Smaller dose of heroin can have equal effect of larger dose of morphine.