Syringe drivers for giving pain control
Many strong painkillers (strong opioids) can be given by a syringe driver.
A syringe driver is a small, portable pump that can be used to give you a continuous dose of your painkiller and other medicines through a syringe. You may use one if you’re being sick or you can’t swallow. Your doctor or nurse will let you know if you need a syringe driver.
A syringe driver is battery powered. The painkiller is put into the syringe, and the syringe is put into the driver. It is attached by a long tube to a fine needle or cannula that is placed just under the skin. A small dose of the drug is then released at a constant rate for as long as you need it. The syringe is usually changed every 24 hours by a nurse.
Syringe drivers are portable so you can move around as usual. They can clip onto a belt, or fit into a pocket, bag or bum bag. Or they can be placed in a specially designed holster (holder) that fits under your arm. Other medicines, such as anti-sickness medicines, can also be given through the syringe driver.
Some people worry that if they have advanced cancer and need a syringe driver, this could shorten their life. This isn’t true. A syringe driver is simply a different way of giving drugs at the dose you need to control your symptoms.