Morphine: What You Need to Know

What is Morphine ?

Morphine is a powerful painkiller. Doctors prescribe it for severe pain after surgery, serious injuries, or conditions like cancer or heart attacks. When weaker painkillers don’t help, it can be used for long-term pain too.

You need a prescription for it. It comes in different forms: tablets, capsules, granules you mix with water, liquid to drink, or injections. Hospitals usually give morphine injections or you can buy morphine online.


Opioids have been prized for their pain relief and mood-altering effects since ancient times. Around 3400 BC, the Sumerians cultivated the opium poppy, calling it the “joy plant.” In 1804, pharmacist Frederick Wilhelm Adam Serturner isolated morphine from opium. This discovery, naming it after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, marked a turning point in narcotic science. One of 24 alkaloids in opium poppy resin, comprises about 10% of the total extract. Serturner’s work is revered in alkaloid chemistry, shaping the path for modern narcotics.

Key Facts

  • Morphine blocks pain signals from reaching the brain via nerves.
  • Common side effects include constipation, nausea, and drowsiness.
  • Addiction to it is possible, but doctors can provide guidance on reducing this risk.
  • Drinking alcohol while taking morphine can increase the likelihood of experiencing side effects such as drowsiness.
  • Morphine is a controlled medication, requiring proof of identity (e.g., passport or driver’s license) when collected from the pharmacist. Additionally, patients must sign the back of their prescription to confirm receipt.

Who Can Take Morphine

Most adults and children can use morphine, but there’s a higher chance of side effects in babies, young children, and older individuals.

Who May Not Be Able to Take Morphine

  • Have ever experienced an allergic reaction to morphine or any other medication.
  • Suffer from breathing problems or lung issues.
  • Have a history of alcohol addiction.
  • Have a condition prone to seizures or fits.
  • Have experienced a head injury.
  • Have low levels of thyroid hormones.
  • Encounter problems with your adrenal glands.
  • Have kidney or liver complications.
  • Deal with an enlarged prostate.
  • Experience low blood pressure (hypotension).
  • Have myasthenia gravis, a rare condition causing muscle weakness.
  • Are attempting to conceive, currently pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Morphine should be avoided in cases of

  • Severe breathing problems.
  • Serious asthma without proper monitoring or equipment.
  • Recent use of certain medications called MAOIs.
  • Suspected blockage in the stomach or intestines.
  • Allergic reaction or intolerance to morphine.

Side Effects

  • Inform your doctor about serious side effects like interrupted breathing during sleep, mental changes, difficulty urinating, vision changes, stomach pain, or adrenal gland issues.
  • Seek immediate medical help for very serious side effects such as slow breathing, fainting, severe drowsiness, or seizures.
  • Get urgent medical attention if you have signs of a severe allergic reaction like rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, or trouble breathing.
  • Note that this list may not include all side effects. If you notice anything unusual, contact your doctor or pharmacist.


  • Watch for Nerve Issues: Keep an eye out for any new nerve problems in patients getting morphine sulfate through a spine catheter.
  • Look Out for Leg Spasms: Be aware of any unusual speeding up of morphine delivery causing leg spasms. Detox might be needed.
  • Breathing Trouble: Be very careful with morphine sulfate in patients with lung issues, old age, or weakness. Monitor breathing closely when starting or changing doses.
  • Low Blood Pressure: Keep a close watch on blood pressure when starting or changing doses. Avoid if blood pressure is very low.
  • Brain Problems: Be cautious in patients with brain issues or who are not fully awake. Watch for sleepiness and breathing problems. Avoid morphine sulfate if they’re unconscious or in a coma.


Morphine is a powerful painkiller used for severe pain, but it can cause side effects and addiction. Patients should report any serious reactions and seek help if needed. Certain precautions are necessary, like avoiding morphine in specific medical conditions. Overall, morphine can be beneficial for managing pain, but it requires careful monitoring and consideration of risks.


Q. How long does morphine last?

A. Morphine typically provides relief for around 4 to 6 hours after ingestion, but this duration can vary based on factors like dosage and individual metabolism.

Q. What is morphine used for?

A. Morphine is primarily utilized to alleviate severe pain, commonly occurring post-surgery, after serious injuries, or in conditions like cancer or heart attacks.

Q. Does morphine make you sleepy?

A. Yes, morphine can induce drowsiness as one of its side effects. It’s important to exercise caution when operating machinery or driving while under its influence.

Q. Is Dilaudid stronger than morphine?

A. Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is approximately 5 to 7 times more potent than morphine in terms of pain relief.

Q. What painkiller is the strongest?

A. The potency of painkillers varies depending on the individual and the type of pain. Fentanyl, oxycodone, and morphine are among the strongest available.

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