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Morphine (Oral route)

Morphine is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It belongs to the group of medicines called narcotic analgesics (pain medicines). Morphine acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Morphine extended-release capsules or tablets should not be used if you need pain medicine for just a short time, such as when recovering from surgery. Do not use this medicine to relieve mild pain, or in situations when non-narcotic medication is effective… Read more
Brand names include
Arymo ER, Kadian, Kadian ER, MS Contin, Morphabond, Morphabond ER, Oramorph SR, Roxanol, Roxanol-T
Other forms
By injection, By injection, By mouth, By mouth, Epidural route
Drug classes About this
Analgesic, Opioid
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Nebulised morphine for severe interstitial lung disease

Nebulized morphine has been reported to have some beneficial effect on breathlessness and exercise limitation in terminally ill patients with chronic lung disease. Patients with end‐stage interstitial lung disease might also benefit from treatment of breathlessness with nebulized morphine. This review evaluates the effectiveness of using nebulized morphine for breathlessness reduction in patients with interstitial lung disease. Only one small randomised controlled trial was identified. This study concluded that low‐dose nebulized morphine is of no benefit in the management of exercise‐induced dyspnoea and exercise limitations in patients with interstitial lung disease. However, the patients included in this study were relatively mild, and definitive conclusions on the effect of nebulized morphine in the reduction of dyspnoea in end‐stage interstitial lung disease requires further work.

Use of slow‐release oral morphine for the treatment of people with opioid dependence

Opioid dependence is associated with public health and social problems. People injecting opioids are particularly at risk, not only because they become dependent faster than with other routes of administration but also because they are exposed to consequences such as an increased risk of overdose mortality, infective diseases and health issues. At least three‐quarters of global opiate users consume heroin.

Oral morphine for cancer pain

Morphine taken by mouth produced good pain relief for most people with moderate or severe cancer pain.

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Summaries for consumers

Nebulised morphine for severe interstitial lung disease

Nebulized morphine has been reported to have some beneficial effect on breathlessness and exercise limitation in terminally ill patients with chronic lung disease. Patients with end‐stage interstitial lung disease might also benefit from treatment of breathlessness with nebulized morphine. This review evaluates the effectiveness of using nebulized morphine for breathlessness reduction in patients with interstitial lung disease. Only one small randomised controlled trial was identified. This study concluded that low‐dose nebulized morphine is of no benefit in the management of exercise‐induced dyspnoea and exercise limitations in patients with interstitial lung disease. However, the patients included in this study were relatively mild, and definitive conclusions on the effect of nebulized morphine in the reduction of dyspnoea in end‐stage interstitial lung disease requires further work.

Use of slow‐release oral morphine for the treatment of people with opioid dependence

Opioid dependence is associated with public health and social problems. People injecting opioids are particularly at risk, not only because they become dependent faster than with other routes of administration but also because they are exposed to consequences such as an increased risk of overdose mortality, infective diseases and health issues. At least three‐quarters of global opiate users consume heroin.

Oral morphine for cancer pain

Morphine taken by mouth produced good pain relief for most people with moderate or severe cancer pain.

See all (113)

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