Morphine Sulfate (Page 2 of 7)

5.3 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 inhaling 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.

5.4 Interactions with Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse

Morphine sulfate may be expected to have additive effects when used in conjunction with alcohol, other opioids, or illicit drugs that cause central nervous system depression because respiratory depression, hypotension, profound sedation, coma or death may result.

5.5 Use In Head Injury and Increased Intracranial Pressure

In the presence of head injury, intracranial lesions or a preexisting increase in intracranial pressure, the possible respiratory depressant effects of morphine sulfate and its potential to elevate cerebrospinal fluid pressure (resulting from vasodilation following CO2 retention) may be markedly exaggerated. Furthermore, morphine sulfate can produce effects on pupillary response and consciousness, which may obscure neurologic signs of further increases in intracranial pressure in patients with head injuries.

5.6 Hypotensive Effect

Morphine sulfate may cause severe hypotension in an individual whose ability to maintain blood pressure has already been compromised by a depleted blood volume or concurrent administration of drugs such as phenothiazines or general anesthetics. Morphine sulfate may produce orthostatic hypotension and syncope in ambulatory patients.

Administer morphine sulfate with caution to patients in circulatory shock, as vasodilation produced by the drug may further reduce cardiac output and blood pressure.

5.7 Gastrointestinal Effects

Do not administer morphine sulfate to patients with gastrointestinal obstruction, especially paralytic ileus because morphine sulfate diminishes propulsive peristaltic waves in the gastrointestinal tract and may prolong the obstruction.

The administration of morphine sulfate may obscure the diagnosis or clinical course in patients with acute abdominal condition.

5.8 Use in Pancreatic/Biliary Tract Disease

Use morphine sulfate with caution in patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis, as morphine sulfate may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi and diminish biliary and pancreatic secretions.

5.9 Special Risk Groups

Use morphine sulfate with caution and in reduced dosages in patients with severe renal or hepatic impairment, Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism, prostatic hypertrophy, or urethral stricture, and in elderly or debilitated patients. [ ] See USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS (8.5)

Exercise caution in the administration of morphine sulfate to patients with CNS depression, toxic psychosis, acute alcoholism and delirium tremens.

All opioids may aggravate convulsions in patients with convulsive disorders, and all opioids may induce or aggravate seizures in some clinical settings.

Keep Morphine Sulfate Oral Solution out of the reach of children. In case of accidental ingestion, seek emergency medical help immediately.

5.10 Driving and Operating Machinery

Caution patients that morphine sulfate could impair the mental and/or physical abilities needed to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating machinery.

Caution patients about the potential combined effects of morphine sulfate with other CNS depressants, including other opioids, phenothiazines, sedative/hypnotics and alcohol. [ ] See DRUG INTERACTIONS (7)


Serious adverse reactions associated with morphine sulfate use include: respiratory depression, apnea, and to a lesser degree, circulatory depression, respiratory arrest, shock and cardiac arrest.

The common adverse reactions seen on initiation of therapy with morphine sulfate are dose-dependent and are typical opioid-related side effects. The most frequent of these include constipation, nausea, and somnolence. Other commonly observed adverse reactions include: lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, vomiting, and sweating. The frequency of these events depends upon several factors including clinical setting, the patient’s level of opioid tolerance, and host factors specific to the individual. Anticipate and manage these events as part of opioid analgesia therapy.

Other less frequently observed adverse reactions expected from opioid analgesics, including morphine sulfate include:

: malaise, withdrawal syndrome Body as a Whole

: bradycardia, hypertension, hypotension, palpitations, syncope, tachycardia Cardiovascular System

: anorexia, biliary pain, dyspepsia, dysphagia, gastroenteritis, abnormal liver function tests, rectal disorder, thirst Digestive System

hypogonadism Endocrine:

: anemia, thrombocytopenia Hemic and Lymphatic System

: edema, weight loss Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders

: skeletal muscle rigidity, decreased bone mineral density Musculoskeletal

: abnormal dreams, abnormal gait, agitation, amnesia, anxiety, ataxia, confusion, convulsions, coma, delirium, depression, dry mouth, euphoria, hallucinations, lethargy, nervousness, abnormal thinking, tremor, vasodilation, vertigo, headache Nervous System

: hiccup, hypoventilation, voice alteration Respiratory System

: dry skin, urticaria, pruritus Skin and Appendages

: amblyopia, eye pain, taste perversion Special Senses

: abnormal ejaculation, dysuria, impotence, decreased libido, oliguria, urinary retention or hesitancy, anti-diuretic effect, amenorrhea Urogenital System


7.1 CNS Depressants

Other central nervous system (CNS) depressants including sedatives, hypnotics, general anesthetics, antiemetics, phenothiazines, or other tranquilizers or alcohol increases the risk of respiratory depression, hypotension, profound sedation, or coma. Use morphine sulfate with caution and in reduced dosages in patients taking these agents.

7.2 Muscle Relaxants

Morphine sulfate may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression.

7.3 Mixed Agonist/Antagonist Opioid Analgesics

Do not administer mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics (i.e., pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) to patients who have received or are receiving a course of therapy with a pure opioid agonist analgesic such as morphine sulfate. In these patients, mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect and/or may precipitate withdrawal symptoms.

7.4 Cimetidine

Concomitant administration of morphine sulfate and cimetidine has been reported to precipitate apnea, confusion, and muscle twitching in an isolated report. Monitor patients for increased respiratory and CNS depression when receiving cimetidine concomitantly with morphine sulfate.

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