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Facts About Morphine

Morphine is an opioid medication, which is an analgesic (pain reliever), and is said to be the original opioid. Morphine is an alkaloid element, which is abundantly found in opium and was the first active element purified from the source of a plane and is one of the 50 alkaloids that are found in opium. The other street names of morphine include M, 13, Emma, cube, morf, mofo, dry grog, white hop, uncle, coby, gold dust, love dust, monkey dust, and so on. Morphine is also marketed under several brand names like Algedol, Avinza, Infumorph, Filnarine, Loceptin, and many other brand names.

Morphine occurs as feathery, white, and silky crystals; cubical crystal masses; or white powdered crystal and dissolves in water and slightly in alcohol.

Let us take a look at all the uses and effects of morphine along with its abuse.

Is Morphine a prescription drug?

Yes, it is. Morphine is basically used to treat acute, severe, and chronic pain. It is used during labor pains and during myocardial infarctions and during post surgical pains. The dosage however, is varied according to the tolerance level and in most cases is started only with low doses. Morphine is mostly used for short-term as well as long-term pain control. Nevertheless, since it is a narcotic analgesic, the usage is very limited and for a very short period of time. Occasionally, morphine is prescribed of other uses and used as off-label to relieve pain in kids, or to relieve shortness of breath, etc.

Morphine was initially used as a painkiller and mistakenly as a cure for opium addiction.

Morphine binds to the opioid receptors of the brain and the CNS (central nervous system) and reduces the perception of pain and the emotional response to the ache.

Things to be discussed with the doctor before taking morphine

There are certain physical conditions, which have to be discussed with the doctor prior to administering the drug. Rather, the health administrators would check for the following when they have to prescribe morphine:

  • Allergy to medicines, additives, dyes, or any foods
  • Medical conditions such as liver disease, kidney problems, hepatitis, Addison's disease, low thyroid, etc. have to be checked
  • Any other medication taken for any other illness
  • Conditions like trouble in urinating, enlarged prostate, etc. have to be checked, as morphine causes difficulty in urinating
  • Cases of head injury, seizures, blood pressure, tumor in the brain, etc. will also have to be taken into account, as morphine increases risks of seizures
  • Conditions of asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or any breathing issues, can be worsened by morphine
  • Low blood pressure also should be ruled out
  • Conditions of diseases in gallbladder, gallstones, or pancreatitis, can worsens with morphine
  • Severe psychological illness and delirium tremens such as alcohol withdrawal, should be ruled out with morphine usage
  • Conditions like abdominal pain or blocked intestines, can be worsened with morphine
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding must be noted for administering morphine, as it is highly dangerous for the fetus and newborn
  • If the person who is getting morphine administered, if family members have history of drug addiction, it could be risky.

Other than the above aspects, there are some drugs that interact with morphine and cause adverse effects in the body, which have to be ruled out before the drug is administered.

Usage of Morphine

The dosage of morphine also varies considering the above facts along with the severity of the pain. Since morphine comes in the form of capsule, tablet, injection, or liquid, and it varies according to the condition of the patient.

When morphine is administered orally, it is advised to take it along with food to avoid stomach upset. Morphine must never be taken along with alcohol and must be taken only as prescribed by the physician.

Morphine must not be stopped without the advice of the doctor, as it would have adverse effect on health.

Effects of Morphine

Since morphine binds the opioid receptors of the body, this has various effects such as cough suppression, euphoria, nausea, changes in the circulatory system, drowsiness, etc.

Medical effects include:

  • Cough suppression
  • Pain relief
  • Anxiety relief
  • Euphoria or pleasant feeling
  • Slow breathing
  • Changes in circulatory system
  • Histamine release
  • Physical dependence
  • Slow down of digestive tract

Recreational effects

Since morphine gives a high feeling or euphoric or pleasurable feeling, this drug is abused by many for recreational purposes due to its availability. Frequent usage however, leads to dependency on this drug and eventually to addiction. Slowly higher dosage of morphine is required to produce same high effects.

Side effects

As with any other drug, morphine also has its side effects. However, many tolerate morphine to a large extent and only few have side effects that require medical attention. Some of the side effects include drowsiness, sweating, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, constipation, etc.

Adverse effects that requires immediate medical attention

Very rarely the side effects of morphine are potentially serious and these must be addressed at once:

  • Confusion
  • Severe constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Seizures
  • Unsteadiness
  • Urge for more morphine
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Allergic rashes, itching, wheezing, and swelling of throat and mouth

Other lighter versions of effects include: Anemia, insomnia, fever, dry skin, chills, back pain, delayed menstruation, abnormal dreams, vertigo, sweating, shaky muscles, loss of appetite, hiccups, heart palpitations, dry mouth, taste changes, and many other symptoms that are common.

Addiction with Morphine

It is hard to predict when a person gets addicted to prescribed morphine medication, as certain symptoms are common between addiction and conditions when the morphine dosage is not sufficient. However, most often as a narcotic, this drug creates a physical dependence is common, which over prolonged use might be abused and turn into addiction.

Morphine withdrawal

Since this is a narcotic opiate, abrupt ceasing could cause withdrawal symptoms, which include joint pain, dilated pupils, muscle pain, sweating, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, nausea, rapid heartbeat, chills, etc.

Since morphine creates dependency, it requires professional assistance to come out of the addiction or habit and has to be done with care. Addiction withdrawal can lead to emotional and physical trauma including heart attack, stroke, or at times death.