Morphine Sulfate: A Complete Guide
Welcome to your definitive guide to morphine sulfate. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this global pain suppressant.
What is Morphine Sulfate? What is it Used For?
Morphine sulfate is one of the most popular and most effective pain relievers in the world. It is by a variety of institutions, from public and private hospitals to military medical centers. It is an opioid analgesic that is used to treat moderate to severe pain in patients.
Despite being found in several plants, morphine is actually a natural substance found in a wide variety of animals, including humans. It is one of the chemicals that the body uses to suppress pain, without having any outside morphine dosage.
Morphine sulfate acts directly on the central nervous system, which is what makes it so effective at treating pain. Its pain suppressant properties are so strong that it is often administered to women during labor.
Morphine sulfate can be administered into the body in a number of different ways. It can be administered by mouth, by injection into a muscle, by injection under the skin, through an IV, rectally, or through injection into the area around your spinal cord.
Generally speaking, the method by which a doctor is or is not going to administer you any morphine is dependent on your medical situation, and the morphine dose that you are required to take.
Typical morphine sulfate doses are 30 mg for a liquid version or 15 mg for a pill.
How Long Does Morphine Last?
Answering how long does morphine stay in your system depends on a few different criteria. The painkilling properties of the substance have different levels of effect on different people, but in general, you can expect the results of morphine sulfate to last anywhere between three and seven hours. However, there are long-lasting morphine formulas that have an increased length of effectiveness.
Generally, if you take a morphine sulfate dose that is anywhere between 15 mg, 30 mg, up to 100 mg, then you take the medicine every four hours.
While that is the average length of time for administration, you can get formulas of morphine sulfate that may last eight-12 hours or even 12-24 hours.
How long morphine takes to get into your system, however, depends on what way you received it. If it has been administered via an IV drip, it should take around 20 minutes to kick in. If it was taken orally, it should take around an hour.
What is Morphine Sulfate Used to Treat
Primarily, morphine sulfate is used to treat moderate to severe pain. This includes the likes of pain during a heart attack, pain caused by labor, cancer pain, and more.
While that is the main use of morphine, it does have some others. In particular, it can be used to treat respiratory depression that is common in both cancer and non-cancer related issues. A slow morphine dosage to a patient suffering from respiratory depression can see their breathlessness reduced in a safe and controlled manner.
While you probably expect those medical uses, you might be surprised to find out that morphine is used to treat opioid substance abuse. In opiate substitution therapy, which is a way to ease addicts from the drug, the most common substitute is methadone or buprenorphine. However, if the subject isn’t responding or can’t tolerate either of those, then morphine is used in a slow-release formulation.
What is Zomorph?
You might have heard the name in relation to morphine sulfate at some point, or perhaps you’ve heard about the drug from another source. Regardless, precisely what it is can leave some people confused.
In fact, all it is is a brand name for a particular formula of slow-release, or extended-release, morphine sulfate. It may come in various forms, with a range of dosages that start at a 15 mg concentration and go up from there.
Other brand names for this form or morphine include MS Contin and Avinza.
What is the Difference Between Avinza and MS Contin
MS Contin is marketed as MST Continus by NAPP Pharmaceuticals and is a controlled drug in most parts of the world. It is a morphine formula designed to be 12 hours long term releasing, meaning that you take two or more doses of MS Contin per day. It can be prescribed in doses between 15 mg and 100 mg.
Avinza, on the other hand, is produced by King Pharmaceuticals. Rather than an eight to 12-hour formula, Avinza is a 24-hour formula, which means that the morphine dose only needs to be administered once or twice per day. Thus, this makes it a great treatment for respiratory depression. The prescribed doses of Avinza that are available don’t include 15 mg or 100 mg, instead ranging from 30 mg to 120 in increments of 15 mg or 30 mg.
Recommended Morphine Sulfate Dosage
Your typical morphine sulfate dose is going to be more so determined by your age, rather than the condition from which you are suffering. This is particularly true if it is on a prescription basis.
Children aged one to five, in the rare instance that they are prescribed morphine, can take 5 mg every four hours, up to 30 mg per day.
Children aged six to 12 can take 5 – 10 mg of morphine every four hours, up to 60 mg per day.
In those aged 13 – 18, they can take 5 – 20 mg of morphine every four hours, with a maximum of 120 mg per day.
Adults can take between 10 and 20 mg of the drug every four hours, up to 120 mg per day. In adults, morphine sulfate 15mg pills are particularly common.
In the event that you need a higher morphine sulfate dose, you are likely going to take it in the form of an oral liquid. For example, rather than prescribe 30 mg morphine pills, a doctor may prescribe you with a liquid form of the drug, which has 30 mg of morphine per 5 ml. This concentration can change, though. You can get formulas with 10mg per 5 ml, 15 mg per 5 ml, 20 mg per 5 ml, and even 100 mg per 5 ml.
However, the use of the 100 mg morphine dose is infrequent. It is only recommended in the event that the patent is opioid-tolerant, making the 100 mg variety more common among addicted or dependent subjects.
As a side note, it is vital to pay very close attention to the mg requirements versus the ml requirements of your prescription. If a doctor prescribed 100 mg of morphine sulfate, it is vital that you don’t misread that as 100 ml.
Morphine vs Oxycodone
Oxycodone and morphine are two similar medicines used in the treatment of chronic pain. The effects of both of them are incredibly similar, which has led to people believing that there is no real difference between them.
However, that isn’t the case. A study published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that oxycodone is better than morphine for the treatment of a handful of specific pains. Particularly, subjects showed a more significant response to oxycodone in relation to skin, muscle, and esophagus related pain stimulation.
Oxycodone 80mg also has an increased list of potential side effects when compared to morphine sulfate. This list includes constipation, nausea, euphoria, drowsiness, dizziness, loss of appetite, sweating, itching, and a dry mouth. Particularly severe side effects include hallucination, addiction/dependence, bradycardia, depression, and low blood pressure.
What is Roxanol
Roxanol is an immediate release, an oral solution of morphine sulfate available as a drug. Roxanol is highly concentrated, with each ml containing 20 mg of morphine. Adults have often prescribed 10 to 30 mg of Roxanol every four hours, with not much room to increase that dosage due to the strength of the solution.
Morphine Sulfate Side Effects
Despite being relatively well used by a large portion of the population, a morphine dose may cause some side effects that you need to keep in mind.
The side effects of morphine are fully dependent on your medical situation and the dose that you are taking. However, common effects may include:
As with other opioids, morphine sulfate has an effect on the myenteric plexus in your digestional tract. This reduces the mobility of your gut, which in turn causes constipation.
This morphine side effect is uncommon in therapeutic users but may still appear all the same. In particular, morphine sulfate has a negative effect on the production of sex hormones, as well as other ones around the body.
Nausea or vomiting, in morphine sulfate patients, is a side effect that is directly related to the way in which the medicine impacts your hormone production. In this particular instance, it can be caused by a lack of the hormone cortisol. Not having enough of this hormone can also cause a decrease in blood pressure, lack of appetite, weakness, or fatigue.
When Can Morphine Sulfate Not be Used?
There are a number of contraindication situations in which morphine may not be administered. In particular, there are a lot of circumstances that prevent a patient from taking the drug orally.
Patients that are known to have a hypersensitive reaction to morphine sulfate cannot take the drug in any dosage for any reason.
If a subject has respiratory depression, they cannot orally ingest morphine sulfate as it may cause damage and obstruct the patient’s airway. Instead, if morphine is being used to treat respiratory depression, it must be administered via injection or IV.
Morphine sulfate may not be used in the event that the patient has any kind of obstructive airway disease.
If the patient has paralytic ileus, they may not use morphine sulfate orally.
Acute hepatic disease is another situation in which a subject may not use morphine sulfate.
Acute alcoholism is another circumstance that prevents subjects from taking the drug orally.
If the patient has a head injury, then they may not use morphine sulfate orally. However, morphine a common treatment for chronic pain brought on to the nervous system by head injuries, so if that is the case, then it must be administered via injection or IV.
If someone is in a coma, then a doctor may not use morphine sulfate as a treatment.
If the patient is experiencing increased intracranial pressure, then they cannot use morphine sulfate as an oral pain suppressant.
If a patient is known to have convulsive disorders, then they may not use the drug as a treatment.
If a patient is taking any of the medication that is known to be incompatible with morphine sulfate, then they may also not take the drug.
Morphine sulfate should not be used if a patient is pregnant (with the exception of labor) or if they are actively breastfeeding.
Is There a Maximum Morphine Sulfate Dose That I Can be Prescribed?
Unusually, no. Morphine sulfate is unusual in that there is no maximum dosage that you can take. How much you should be administering is directly proportional to the amount of pain you are experiencing. This also makes your morphine sulfate prescription scalable, with it capable of increasing or decreasing to match your current situation.
Having said that, there is a maximum threshold that you can safely take morphine sulfate. It is a powerful painkiller, and taking a dosage that is far above what you’ve been prescribed can cause an overdose.
Even taking slightly over your prescribed limit can cause negative effects. In particular, it can cause you to build up an immunity to morphine sulfate, which, in turn, means that you’re going to need to be prescribed stronger concentrates to do the same job.
If you feel like your dosage is too high or too low, all you have to do is speak to your doctor. One of the advantages that morphine sulfate has over other pain suppressants is how scalable it is to each individual patient. If you feel like you need more, then your doctor isn’t going to have an issue with prescribing it.
Just remember to obey the doctor’s orders, and not to take your medication into your own hands.