This medication is used to help relieve severe ongoing pain (such as due to cancer). 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. The higher strengths of this drug (100 milligrams or more per tablet) should be used only if you have been regularly taking moderate to large amounts of opioid pain medications. These strengths may cause overdose (even death) if taken by a person who has not been regularly taking opioids. Do not use the extended-release form of morphine to relieve pain that is mild or that will go away in a few days. This medication is not for occasional (“as needed”) use.
How to use
See also Warning section. Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using morphine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication on a regular schedule as directed by your doctor, not as needed for sudden (breakthrough) pain. Take this drug with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually every 8 hours or 12 hours. Some brands should only be taken every 12 hours. 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 nausea persists, see your doctor. Swallow the tablets whole. Do not break, crush, chew, or dissolve the tablet. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of morphine overdose. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed, because your risk of side effects may increase. Properly stop the medication when so directed. Before you start taking this medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should stop or change how you use your other opioid medication(s). Other pain relievers (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen) may also be prescribed. 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. When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well. Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Tell your doctor if your pain does not get better or if it gets worse.
See also Warning section. Nausea, vomiting, constipation, sweating, lightheadedness, dizziness, or drowsiness may occur. Some of these side effects may decrease after you have been using this medication for a while. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. To prevent constipation, eat dietary fiber, drink enough water, and exercise. You may also need to take a laxative. Ask your pharmacist which type of laxative is right for you. To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. An empty tablet shell may appear in your stool. This effect is harmless because your body has already absorbed the medication. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: interrupted breathing during sleep (sleep apnea), mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations), severe stomach/abdominal pain, difficulty urinating, signs of your adrenal glands not working well (such as loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, weight loss). Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: fainting, seizure, slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/difficulty waking up. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.