Your doctor has ordered morphine, a strong analgesic (painkiller), to relieve your pain. The drug will be either injected into a large muscle (such as your buttock or hip) or added to an intravenous fluid that will drip through a needle or catheter placed in your vein or under your skin.
You probably will receive morphine continuously for around-the-clock pain relief. Your doctor also may order other pain medications to make you more comfortable. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Your health care provider (doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) may measure the effectiveness and side effects of your treatment using laboratory tests and physical examinations. It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. The length of treatment depends on how you respond to the medication.
Before administering morphine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to morphine, codeine (or medications that contain codeine such as Tylenol with Codeine), hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), hydromorphone (e.g., Dilaudid), oxycodone (e.g., Percocet), oxymorphone (Numorphan), or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other pain relievers; antidepressants; medications for cough, cold, or allergies; sedatives; sleeping pills; tranquilizers; and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver or kidney disease, a history of alcoholism, lung or thyroid disease, heart disease, prostatic hypertrophy, or lung or urinary problems.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking morphine, call your doctor.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
- tell your doctor if you use tobacco products. Cigarette smoking may decrease the effectiveness of this drug.
Before you administer morphine, look at the solution closely. It should be clear and free of floating material. Gently squeeze the bag or observe the solution container to make sure there are no leaks. Do not use the solution if it is discolored, if it contains particles, or if the bag or container leaks. Use a new solution, but show the damaged one to your health care provider.
It is important that you use your medication exactly as directed. Morphine can be habit forming. Do not administer it more often or for a longer period than your doctor tells you. Do not change your dosing schedule without talking to your health care provider. Your health care provider may tell you to stop your infusion if you have a mechanical problem (such as a blockage in the tubing, needle, or catheter); if you have to stop an infusion, call your health care provider immediately so your therapy can continue.
Morphine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- stomach pain
- difficulty urinating
If you experience either of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- difficulty breathing
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
- Your health care provider probably will give you several days supply of morphine at a time. If you are receiving morphine intravenously (in your vein), you probably will be told to store it in the refrigerator.
- Take your next dose from the refrigerator 1 hour before using it; place it in a clean, dry area to allow it to warm to room temperature.
If you are receiving morphine intramuscularly (in your muscle), your health care provider will tell you how to store it properly.
Store your medication only as directed. Make sure you understand what you need to store your medication properly.
Keep your supplies in a clean, dry place when you are not using them, and keep all medications and supplies out of reach of children. Your health care provider will tell you how to throw away used needles, syringes, tubing, and containers to avoid accidental injury.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
If you are receiving morphine in your vein or under your skin, you need to know the symptoms of a catheter-related infection (an infection where the needle enters your vein or skin). If you experience any of these effects near your intravenous catheter, tell your health care provider as soon as possible:
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.