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Morphine LP Epidural Side Effects

Generic Name: morphine

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of morphine. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Morphine LP Epidural.

For the Consumer

Applies to morphine: oral capsule, oral capsule delayed release, oral capsule extended release, oral capsule extended release 24 hr, oral powder for suspension extended release, oral solution, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by morphine (the active ingredient contained in Morphine LP Epidural). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking morphine:

Less common:
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • blurred vision
  • bulging soft spot on the head of an infant
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • change in the ability to see colors, especially blue or yellow
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • confusion
  • cough
  • decreased urination
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • fainting
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • headache
  • hives, itching, or skin rash
  • increased sweating
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nervousness
  • pounding in the ears
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • severe constipation
  • severe vomiting
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • slow heartbeat
  • sweating or chills
Incidence not known:
  • Black, tarry stools
  • cold, clammy skin
  • feeling of warmth or heat
  • flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
  • irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of consciousness
  • low blood pressure or pulse
  • painful urination
  • pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • pounding in the ears
  • shakiness and unsteady walk
  • unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • very slow heartbeat

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking morphine, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:
  • Constricted, pinpoint, or small pupils (black part of the eye)
  • decreased awareness or responsiveness
  • extreme drowsiness
  • fever
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased thirst
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle cramps or spasms
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • no muscle tone or movement
  • severe sleepiness
  • swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs
  • weight gain

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with morphine may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:
  • Cramps
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • drowsiness
  • false or unusual sense of well-being
  • relaxed and calm feeling
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • weight loss
Less common:
  • Absent, missed, or irregular menstrual periods
  • agitation
  • bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • change in vision
  • depression
  • dry mouth
  • face is warm or hot to touch
  • floating feeling
  • halos around lights
  • heartburn or indigestion
  • loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • muscle stiffness or tightness
  • night blindness
  • overbright appearance of lights
  • problems with muscle control
  • redness of the skin
  • skin rash
  • stomach discomfort or upset
  • trouble sleeping
  • uncontrolled eye movements
Incidence not known:
  • Abnormal dreams
  • change in walking and balance
  • change or problem with discharge of semen
  • clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • confusion as to time, place, or person
  • delusions
  • dementia
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact
  • problems with memory
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • sensation of spinning
  • unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to morphine: compounding powder, injectable solution, injectable tablet soluble, intravenous solution, oral capsule, oral capsule extended release, oral concentrate, oral liquid, oral solution, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release, rectal suppository, spinal solution

Nervous system

Central nervous system side effects may be either depressant or excitatory. Excitatory symptoms are sometimes ignored as possible side effects of morphine (the active ingredient contained in Morphine LP Epidural) Severe adverse effects such as respiratory depression can be treated with the opioid antagonist naloxone.

Patients receiving continuous infusion of morphine sulfate via indwelling intrathecal catheter should be monitored for new neurologic signs or symptoms. Further assessment or intervention should be based on the clinical condition of the individual patient.

Myoclonic spasms may occur in patients receiving high dose morphine, particularly in the setting of renal dysfunction. Hyperalgesia has also been reported with high doses.[Ref]

Very common (10% or more): Drowsiness (28%)
Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness, sedation, fever, anxiety, confusion, tremor, diaphoresis, lethargy, feeling of warmth
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Withdrawal symptoms after either abrupt cessation or fast tapering of the drug, headache, chills, flu syndrome, malaise, withdrawal syndrome, pallor, facial flushing, syncope, loss of concentration, insomnia, amnesia, paresthesia, agitation, vertigo, foot drop, ataxia, hypesthesia, slurred speech, hallucinations, euphoria, apathy, seizures, myoclonus
Frequency not reported: Inflammatory masses including granulomas (some of which have resulted in serous neurologic impairment including paralysis) in patients receiving continuous infusion of opioids via indwelling intrathecal catheter[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Respiratory depression
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hiccup, rhinitis, atelectasis, asthma, hypoxia, voice alteration, depressed cough reflex, noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, bronchospasm[Ref]


Morphine may cause constriction of the common bile duct and spasm of the sphincter of Oddi, thereby increasing intrabiliary pressure and worsening, rather than relieving, biliary colic.

In addition, morphine (the active ingredient contained in Morphine LP Epidural) may cause intense but uncoordinated duodenal contraction and decreased gastric emptying.[Ref]

Common (1% to 10%): Dry mouth, constipation, nausea, diarrhea, anorexia, abdominal pain, vomiting
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dysphagia, dyspepsia, stomach atony disorder, gastroesophageal reflux, delayed gastric emptying, biliary colic, increased gastroesophageal reflux, intestinal obstruction[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Chest pain
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, hypotension, palpitations, bradycardia, vasodilation[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abnormal thinking, abnormal dreams, depression, fearfulness, agitation, paranoia, psychosis, hypervigilance, hallucinations, delirium
Frequency not reported: Withdrawal symptoms after abrupt cessation of therapy[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Urinary abnormality, urinary retention, urinary hesitancy[Ref]

The risk of acute urinary retention is very high when morphine is administered by epidural or intrathecal injection. Clinicians should be attentive to the increased risk of urosepsis in this setting, particularly if instrumentation of the urinary tract is necessary.[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Anemia, leukopenia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Thrombocytopenia[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hyponatremia due to inappropriate ADH secretion, gynecomastia, amenorrhea, reduced libido, reduced potency, prolonged labor[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia, accidental injury
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Back pain, bone pain, arthralgia
Frequency not reported: Opioid-induced involuntary muscle hyperactivity with chronic high doses[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Rash
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Decubitus ulcer, pruritus, skin flush[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Amblyopia, conjunctivitis, miosis, blurred vision, nystagmus, diplopia[Ref]


Very rare (less than 0.01%): Hypersensitivity reactions, anaphylaxis[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Increases in hepatic enzymes[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Peripheral edema
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hyponatremia


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Not all side effects for Morphine LP Epidural may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.