Morphine is a type of painkiller used for moderate to severe pain. It is classified as a strong opioid analgesic (also sometimes called narcotics).

Morphine is used to relieve moderate to severe pain and also in easing severe coughs. It works by affecting the nerves and brain to decrease the pain you feel or the urge to cough.

Opioids (opiates) are chemicals which bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. They reduce the perception of pain, the reaction to pain and also increase the patients tolerance of pain. Codeine is another form of opiate.

Opioids taken for extended periods can result in dependance as they can result in feelings of euphoria and withdrawal symptoms upon stopping the medication. This has resulted in the use of opioids for recreational purposes.

In the UK morphine is only available via a prescription from your Doctor or whilst admitted to hospital.

Morphine is available in the form or tablets, capsules or a solution (liquid). There are various brands of each form of morphine medication and the directions for usage will vary slightly between each type. Make sure you follow the instructions given to you by your Doctor.

Precautions / Contraindiations

Before taking morphine, make sure that your Doctor is aware if any of the following apply to you:

  • If you have heart, liver or kidney problems
  • If you are breastfeeding or pregnant
  • If you have respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD
  • If you have low blood pressure
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • If you have convulsions
  • If you have an inflammatory bowel condition
  • If you have recently had a head injury
  • If you have problems with addiction
  • If you are taking any other medications or herbal remedies
  • If you have had an allergic reaction to morphine or any other medication

When taking morphine:

  • Do not drink alcohol
  • Check that any other medications you may need to take whilst taking morphine will not interfere with it
  • If you travel abroad, take a letter from your Doctor confirming your usage of Morphine. This is because morphine is a controlled drug.
  • Do not just stop taking morphine suddenly as you will probably suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Speak to your Doctor if you want to stop taking it.

Side-Effects of Morphine

As with all medications there is a possibility of side-effects. These are usually mild and decrease as your body adjusts to the new medication. If symptoms persist or become troublesome talk to your Doctor.

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Sweating
  • A rash
  • Swollen limbs

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