Morphine Sulfate

MORPHINE SULFATE — morphine sulfate tablet
Physicians Total Care, Inc.

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Morphine sulfate tablets contain morphine, an opioid analgesic, indicated for the relief of moderate to severe acute and chronic pain where use of an opioid analgesic is appropriate.

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

Selection of patients for treatment with morphine sulfate should be governed by the same principles that apply to the use of similar opioid analgesics. Individualize treatment in every case, using non-opioid analgesics, opioids on an as needed basis and/or combination products, and chronic opioid therapy in a progressive plan of pain management such as outlined by the World Health Organization, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the American Pain Society.

2.1 Individualization of Dosage

As with any opioid drug product adjust the dosing regimen for each patient individually, taking into account the patient’s prior analgesic treatment experience. In the selection of the initial dose of morphine sulfate, give attention to the following:

  • the total daily dose, potency and specific characteristics of the opioid the patient has been taking previously;
  • the reliability of the relative potency estimate used to calculate the equivalent morphine sulfate dose needed;
  • the patient’s degree of opioid tolerance;
  • the general condition and medical status of the patient;
  • concurrent medications;
  • the type and severity of the patient’s pain;
  • risk factors for abuse, addiction or diversion, including a prior history of abuse, addiction or diversion.

The following dosing recommendations, therefore, can only be considered suggested approaches to what is actually a series of clinical decisions over time in the management of the pain of each individual patient.

Continual re-evaluation of the patient receiving morphine sulfate is important, with special attention to the maintenance of pain control and the relative incidence of side effects associated with therapy. During chronic therapy, especially for non-cancer-related pain, periodically re-assess the continued need for the use of opioid analgesics.

During periods of changing analgesic requirements, including initial titration, frequent contact is recommended between physician, other members of the healthcare team, the patient, and the caregiver/family.

2.2 Initiation of Therapy in Opioid-Naïve Patients

Start patients who have not been receiving opioid analgesics on morphine sulfate in the following dosing range using tablets, 15 mg or 30 mg strengths:

Morphine Sulfate Tablets: 15 to 30 mg every 4 hours as needed for pain.

Titrate the dose based upon the individual patient’s response to their initial dose of morphine sulfate. Adjust the dose to an acceptable level of analgesia taking into account the improvement in pain intensity and the tolerability of the morphine by the patient.

2.3 Conversion to Oral Morphine Sulfate

There is inter-patient variability in the potency of opioid drugs and opioid formulations. Therefore, a conservative approach is advised when determining the total daily dose of morphine sulfate. It is better to underestimate a patient’s 24-hour oral morphine sulfate dose and make available rescue medication than to overestimate the 24-hour oral morphine sulfate dose and manage an adverse experience of overdose.

Consider the following general points regarding opioid conversions.

Conversion From Parenteral Morphine to Oral Morphine Sulfate

For conversion from parenteral to oral morphine sulfate, anywhere from 3 to 6 mg of oral morphine sulfate may be required to provide pain relief equivalent to 1 mg of parenteral morphine.

Conversion From Parenteral Oral Non-Morphine Opioids to Oral Morphine Sulfate

In converting patients from other opioids to morphine sulfate, close observation and adjustment of dosage based upon the patient’s response to morphine sulfate is imperative. Physicians and other healthcare professionals are advised to refer to published relative potency information, keeping in mind that conversion ratios are only approximate.

Conversion From Controlled-Release Oral Morphine to Oral Morphine Sulfate

For a given dose, the same total amount of morphine sulfate is available from Morphine Sulfate Tablets, Morphine Sulfate Oral Solution, and controlled-release and extended-release morphine capsules. The extended duration of release of morphine sulfate from controlled-release tablets or extended-release tablets results in reduced maximum and increased minimum plasma morphine sulfate concentrations than with shorter acting morphine sulfate products. Conversion from oral solution or immediate-release tablets to the same total daily dose of controlled-release tablets or extended-release tablets could lead to excessive sedation at peak serum levels. Therefore, dosage adjustment with close observation is necessary.

2.4 Maintenance of Therapy

Continual re-evaluation of the patient receiving morphine sulfate is important, with special attention to the maintenance of pain control and the relative incidence of side effects associated with therapy. If the level of pain increases, effort should be made to identify the source of increased pain, while adjusting the dose as described above to decrease the level of pain. During chronic therapy, especially for non-cancer-related pain (or pain associated with other terminal illnesses), periodically reassess the continued need for the use of opioid analgesics.

2.5 Cessation of Therapy

When the patient no longer requires therapy with morphine sulfate, gradually taper the dose to prevent signs and symptoms of withdrawal in the physically dependent patient.

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

Each 15 mg tablet for oral administration contains: morphine sulfate 15 mg and is a white, biconvex tablet scored on one side and product identification “54 733″ debossed on the other side.

Each 30 mg tablet for oral administration contains: morphine sulfate 30 mg and is a white, biconvex tablet scored on one side and product identification “54 262″ debossed on the other side.

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

Morphine sulfate is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to morphine, morphine salts, or any components of the product.

Morphine sulfate is contraindicated in patients with respiratory depression in the absence of resuscitative equipment.

Morphine sulfate is contraindicated in patients with acute or severe bronchial asthma or hypercarbia.

Morphine sulfate is contraindicated in any patient who has or is suspected of having paralytic ileus.

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Respiratory Depression

Respiratory depression is the primary risk of morphine sulfate. Respiratory depression occurs more frequently in elderly or debilitated patients and in those suffering from conditions accompanied by hypoxia, hypercapnia, or upper airway obstruction, in whom even moderate therapeutic doses may significantly decrease pulmonary ventilation.

Use morphine sulfate with extreme caution in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale and in patients having a substantially decreased respiratory reserve (e.g., severe kyphoscoliosis), hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression. In such patients, even usual therapeutic doses of morphine sulfate may increase airway resistance and decrease respiratory drive to the point of apnea. Consider alternative non-opioid analgesics, and use morphine sulfate only under careful medical supervision at the lowest effective dose in such patients.

5.2 Misuse, Abuse and Diversion of Opioids

Morphine sulfate is an opioid agonist and a Schedule II controlled substance. Such drugs are sought by drug abusers and people with addiction disorders. Diversion of Schedule II products is an act subject to criminal penalty.

Morphine sulfate can be abused in a manner similar to other opioid agonists, legal or illicit. This should be considered when prescribing or dispensing morphine sulfate in situations where the physician or pharmacist is concerned about an increased risk of misuse, abuse, or diversion.

Morphine sulfate may be abused by crushing, chewing, snorting or injecting the product. These practices pose a significant risk to the abuser that could result in overdose and death. [See DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE (9)]

Concerns about abuse, addiction, and diversion should not prevent the proper management of pain. Healthcare professionals should contact their State Professional Licensing Board or State Controlled Substances Authority for information on how to prevent and detect abuse or diversion of this product.

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