If clinically advisable, patients receiving morphine sulfate extended-release tablets or their caregivers should be given the following information by the physician, nurse, or pharmacist:
- Patients should be advised that morphine sulfate extended-release tablets contain morphine and should be taken only as directed.
- Patients should be advised that morphine sulfate extended-release tablets were designed to work properly only if swallowed whole. Morphine sulfate extended-release tablets will release all of their morphine if split, divided, broken, chewed, dissolved, or crushed resulting in the risk of a fatal overdose.
- Patients should be advised not to change the dose of morphine sulfate extended-release tablets without consulting their physician.
- Patients should be advised to report episodes of breakthrough pain and adverse experiences occurring during therapy. Individualization of dosage is essential to make optimal use of this medication.
- Morphine sulfate extended-release tablets may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating machinery). Patients started on morphine sulfate extended-release tablets or whose dose has been changed should refrain from dangerous activity until it is established that they are not adversely affected.
- Morphine sulfate extended-release tablets should not be taken with alcohol or other CNS depressants (sleep aids, tranquilizers) except by the orders of the prescribing physician because dangerous additive effects may occur resulting in serious injury or death.
- Women of childbearing potential who become or are planning to become pregnant should be advised to consult their physician regarding the effects of analgesics and other drug use during pregnancy on themselves and their unborn child.
- Patients should be advised that if they have been receiving treatment with morphine sulfate extended-release tablets for more than a few weeks and cessation of therapy is indicated, it may be appropriate to taper the morphine sulfate extended-release tablets dose, rather than abruptly discontinue it, due to the risk of precipitating withdrawal symptoms. Their physician can provide a dose schedule to accomplish a gradual discontinuation of the medication.
- Morphine sulfate extended-release 100 mg and 200 mg tablets are for use only in opioid-tolerant patients requiring daily morphine equivalent dosages of 200 mg or more for the 100 mg tablet and 400 mg or more for the 200 mg tablet. Special care must be taken to avoid accidental ingestion or the use by individuals (including children) other than the patient for whom it was originally prescribed, as such unsupervised use may have severe, even fatal, consequences.
- Patients should be advised that morphine sulfate extended-release tablets are a potential drug of abuse. They should protect it from theft, and it should never be given to anyone other than the individual for whom it was prescribed.
- Patients should be advised that they may pass empty matrix “ghosts” (tablets) via colostomy or in the stool, and that this is of no concern since the active medication has already been absorbed.
- Patients should be instructed to keep morphine sulfate extended-release tablets in a secure place out of the reach of children. When morphine sulfate extended-release tablets are no longer needed, the unused tablets should be destroyed by flushing down the toilet.
Morphine sulfate extended-release tablets are opioids with no approved use in the management of addiction disorders. Its proper usage in individuals with drug or alcohol dependence, either active or in remission, is for the management of pain requiring opioid analgesia.
The concomitant use of other central nervous system depressants including sedatives or hypnotics, general anesthetics, phenothiazines, tranquilizers, and alcohol may produce additive depressant effects. Respiratory depression, hypotension, and profound sedation or coma may occur. When such combined therapy is contemplated, the dose of one or both agents should be reduced. Opioid analgesics, including morphine sulfate extended-release tablets, may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression.
Studies of morphine sulfate in animals to evaluate the drug’s carcinogenic and mutagenic potential or the effect on fertility have not been conducted.
Adequate animal studies on reproduction have not been performed to determine whether morphine affects fertility in males or females. There are no well-controlled studies in women, but marketing experience does not include any evidence of adverse effects on the fetus following routine (short-term) clinical use of morphine sulfate products. Although there is no clearly defined risk, such experience cannot exclude the possibility of infrequent or subtle damage to the human fetus.
Morphine sulfate extended-release tablets should be used in pregnant women only if the need for strong opioid analgesia clearly outweighs the potential risk to the fetus (see PRECAUTIONS, Labor and Delivery and WARNINGS, Drug Abuse and Addiction).
Morphine sulfate extended-release tablets are not recommended for use in women during and immediately prior to labor. Occasionally, opioid analgesics may prolong labor through actions which temporarily reduce the strength, duration, and frequency of uterine contractions. However, this effect is not consistent and may be offset by an increased rate of cervical dilatation which tends to shorten labor.
Neonates whose mothers received opioid analgesics during labor should be observed closely for signs of respiratory depression. A specific narcotic antagonist, naloxone, should be available for reversal of narcotic-induced respiratory depression in the neonate.
Chronic maternal use of opioids during pregnancy can affect the fetus with subsequent withdrawal symptoms. Neonatal withdrawal syndrome presents as irritability, hyperactivity and abnormal sleep pattern, abnormal crying, tremor, vomiting, diarrhea and subsequent weight loss or failure to gain weight, and may result in death. The onset, duration and severity of neonatal withdrawal syndrome varies based on the drug used, duration of use, and the dose of last maternal use, and rate of elimination by the newborn. Use standard care as medically appropriate.
Low levels of morphine have been detected in the breast milk. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in breast-feeding infants when maternal administration of morphine sulfate is stopped. Ordinarily, nursing should not be undertaken while a patient is receiving morphine sulfate extended-release tablets since morphine may be excreted in the milk.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Morphine sulfate extended-release tablets are not to be chewed, crushed, dissolved, or divided for administration.
Clinical studies of morphine sulfate extended-release tablets did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
The adverse reactions caused by morphine are essentially those observed with other opioid analgesics. They include the following major hazards: respiratory depression, apnea, and to a lesser degree, circulatory depression, respiratory arrest, shock, and cardiac arrest.
Constipation, lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, sweating, dysphoria, and euphoria.
Some of these effects seem to be more prominent in ambulatory patients and in those not experiencing severe pain. Some adverse reactions in ambulatory patients may be alleviated if the patient lies down.
Central Nervous System – Weakness, headache, agitation, tremor, uncoordinated muscle movements, seizure, alterations of mood (nervousness, apprehension, depression, floating feelings), dreams, muscle rigidity, transient hallucinations and disorientation, visual disturbances, insomnia, increased intracranial pressure
Gastrointestinal – Dry mouth, biliary tract spasm, laryngospasm, anorexia, diarrhea, cramps, taste alteration, constipation, ileus, intestinal obstruction, dyspepsia, increases in hepatic enzymes
Cardiovascular – Flushing of the face, chills, tachycardia, bradycardia, palpitation, faintness, syncope, hypotension, hypertension
Genitourinary – Urine retention or hesitance, amenorrhea, reduced libido and/or potency
Dermatologic – Pruritus, urticaria, other skin rashes, edema, diaphoresis
Other – Antidiuretic effect, paresthesia, bronchospasm, muscle tremor, blurred vision, nystagmus, diplopia, miosis, anaphylaxis, malaise, thinking disturbances, vertigo
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