Morphine is an opioid medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Morphine works by blocking pain signals from travelling along the nerves to the brain. Morphine is used to treat moderate to severe pain. The extended-release form of morphine is for around-the-clock treatment of pain. Short-acting formulations are taken as needed for pain. Morphine tablet is used to relieve short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) moderate to severe pain. The extended-release capsule and extended-release tablet are used to treat pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and when other pain medicines did not work well enough or cannot be tolerated. Morphine belongs to the group of medicines called narcotic analgesics (pain medicines). It acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain.
This medication is used to help relieve moderate to severe pain. Morphine belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. You may take this drug with or without food. If you have nausea, it may help to take this drug with food. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to decrease nausea (such as lying down for 1 to 2 hours with as little head movement as possible).
- If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you are not sure how to check or measure the dose.
- The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose, take the medication more frequently, or take it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed.
- Pain medications work best if they are used when the first signs of pain occur. If you wait until the pain has worsened, the medication may not work as well.
- If you have ongoing pain (such as due to cancer), your doctor may direct you to also take long-acting opioid medications. In that case, this medication might be used for sudden (breakthrough) pain only as needed. Other pain relievers (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen) may also be prescribed with this medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using morphine safely with other drugs.
Suddenly stopping this medication may cause withdrawal, especially if you have used it for a long time or in high doses. To prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have any withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, mental/mood changes (including anxiety, trouble sleeping, thoughts of suicide), watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, muscle aches, or sudden changes in behavior.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to morphine: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Opioid medicine can slow or stop your breathing, and death may occur. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- slow heart rate, sighing, weak or shallow breathing, breathing that stops;
- chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats;
- extreme drowsiness, feeling like you might pass out;
- serotonin syndrome – agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, diarrhea; or
- low cortisol levels – nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness.
Serious breathing problems may be more likely in older adults and people who are debilitated or have wasting syndrome or chronic breathing disorders.
Common morphine side effects may include:
- drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness;
- constipation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting;
- sweating; or
- feelings of extreme happiness or sadness.