Generic Name: morphine (MOR-feen)
Risks with Neuroaxial Administration:Single-dose neuraxial administration may result in acute or delayed respiratory depression up to 24 hours. Because of the risk of severe adverse reactions when morphine sulfate (Duramorph(R)) is administered by the epidural or intrathecal route of administration, patients must be observed in a fully equipped and staffed environment for at least 24 hours after the initial dose . Because of the risk of severe adverse reactions when morphine sulfate (Infumorph(R)) is administered by the epidural or intrathecal route of administration, patients must be observed in a fully equipped and staffed environment for at least 24 hours after the initial (single) test dose and, as appropriate, for the first several days after catheter implantation .Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression:Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur with use of morphine sulfate. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of morphine sulfate or following a dose increase . Because of delay in maximum CNS effect with intravenously administered drug (30 min), rapid IV administration may result in overdosing . Patients must be observed in a fully equipped and staffed environment for at least 24 hours after each test dose of Infumorph(R) and, as indicated, for the first several days after surgery .Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse:Morphine sulfate exposes patients and other users to the risks of opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Assess each patient’s risk prior to prescribing morphine sulfate, and monitor all patients regularly for the development of these behaviors and conditions .Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome:Prolonged use of morphine sulfate during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If opioid use is required for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available .Risks From Concomitant Use With Benzodiazepines Or Other CNS Depressants:Concomitant use of opioids with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including alcohol, may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required. Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on May 21, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Astramorph PF
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Analgesic
Chemical Class: Opioid
Uses for morphine
Morphine injection is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It may also be used before or during surgery with an anesthetic (medicine that puts you to sleep). Morphine belongs to the group of medicines called narcotic analgesics (pain medicines). It acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain.
When a narcotic medicine is used for a long time, it may become habit-forming, causing mental or physical dependence. However, people who have continuing pain should not let the fear of dependence keep them from using narcotics to relieve their pain. Mental dependence (addiction) is not likely to occur when narcotics are used for this purpose. Physical dependence may lead to withdrawal side effects if treatment is stopped suddenly. However, severe withdrawal side effects can usually be prevented by gradually reducing the dose over a period of time before treatment is stopped completely.
Morphine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using morphine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For morphine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to morphine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of morphine injection in children 1 month of age and older. Safety and efficacy in infants younger than 1 month of age have not been established. Morphine injections into the back are not recommended for children.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of morphine injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney, liver, or lung problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving morphine injection.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving morphine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using morphine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using morphine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Calcium Oxybate
- Chloral Hydrate
- Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
- Gabapentin Enacarbil
- Magnesium Oxybate
- Methylene Blue
- Nitrous Oxide
- Opium Alkaloids
- Potassium Oxybate
- Sodium Oxybate
- St John's Wort
- Tolonium Chloride
Using morphine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using morphine with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use morphine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of morphine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Addison's disease (adrenal gland problem) or
- Alcohol abuse, or history of or
- Asthma, severe or
- Breathing problems, severe (e.g., hypoxia) or
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or
- Cor pulmonale (serious heart condition) or
- Drug dependence, especially with narcotics, or history of or
- Enlarged prostate (BPH, prostatic hypertrophy) or
- Gallbladder disease or gallstones or
- Head injuries, history of or
- Heart disease or
- Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) or
- Hypovolemia (low blood volume) or
- Kyphoscoliosis (curvature of the spine with breathing problems) or
- Problems with passing urine or
- Respiratory depression (very slow breathing) or
- Ulcerative colitis—Use with caution. May increase risk for more serious side effects.
- Brain tumor or
- Heart failure from lung disease or
- Heart rhythm problems (e.g., atrial flutter, tachycardia)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Hypotension (low blood pressure) or
- Seizures, history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper use of morphine
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you morphine in a hospital. Morphine may be given as a shot under the skin, as a shot into one of your muscles, or through a needle placed in one of your veins. It can also be given through a needle or catheter into your back.
Your doctor will give you a few doses of morphine until your condition improves, and then switch you to an oral medicine that works the same way. If you have any concerns about this, talk to your doctor.
Precautions while using morphine
It is very important that your doctor check the progress or you or your child while you are receiving morphine. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to use it.
Morphine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that can make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for allergies or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; other prescription pain medicine or narcotics; medicine for seizures or barbiturates; muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before you or your child take any of the medicines listed above while you are using morphine.
Morphine may be habit-forming. If you or your child feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
Using narcotics for a long time can cause severe constipation. To prevent this, your doctor may direct you or your child to take laxatives, drink a lot of fluids, or increase the amount of fiber in the diet. Be sure to follow the directions carefully, because continuing constipation can lead to more serious problems.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may occur when you or your child get up suddenly from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help lessen this problem. Also, lying down for a while may relieve the dizziness or lightheadedness.
Morphine may make you dizzy, drowsy, confused, or disoriented. Make sure you know how you react to morphine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or not alert.
Before having any kind of surgery (including dental surgery) or emergency treatment, tell the medical doctor or dentist in charge that you or your child are using morphine. Serious unwanted effects can occur if certain medicines are given together with morphine injection.
If you or your child have been using morphine regularly for several weeks or longer, do not suddenly stop using it without checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely. This may help prevent worsening of your condition and reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms, such as abdominal or stomach cramps, anxiety, fever, nausea, runny nose, sweating, tremors, or trouble with sleeping.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Morphine side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Difficult or troubled breathing
- irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- shortness of breath
- very slow breathing
Incidence not known
- Blurred vision
- decrease in frequency of urination
- decrease in the amount of urine
- difficulty in passing urine (dribbling)
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- painful urination
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- Bluish lips or skin
- irregular heartbeat
- low blood pressure or pulse
- slow heartbeat
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Incidence not known
- Absent, missed, or irregular menstrual periods
- decreased interest in sexual intercourse
- difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
- false or unusual sense of well-being
- inability to have or keep an erection
- itching skin
- loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
- menstrual changes
- nausea and vomiting
- stopping of menstrual bleeding
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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