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THE MAJOR HAZARDS OF MORPHINE, AS OF OTHER NARCOTIC ANALGESICS, ARE RESPIRA-TORY DEPRESSION AND, TO A LESSER DEGREE, CIRCULATORY DEPRESSION, RESPIRATORY ARREST, SHOCK, AND CARDIAC ARREST HAVE OCCURRED.
The most frequently observed adverse reactions include lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. These effects seem to be more prominent in ambulatory patients and in those who are suffering severe pain. In such individuals, lower doses are available. Some adverse reactions may be alleviated in the ambulatory patient if he lies down.
Other adverse reactions include the following
Treatment of the most frequent adverse reactions
Ample intake of water or other liquids should be encouraged. Concomitant administration of a stool softener and a peristaltic stimulant with the narcotic analgesic can be an effective preventive measure for those patients in need of therapeutics. If elimination does not occur for two days, an enema should be administered to prevent impaction.
Nausea and Vomiting
Phenothiazines and antihistamines can be effective treatments of nausea of the medullary and vestibular sources respectively. However, these drugs may potentiate the side effects of the narcotic or the antinauseant.
Once pain control is achieved, undesirable sedation can be minimized by titrating the dosage to a level that just maintains a tolerable pain or pain free state.
Drug Abuse And Dependence
Morphine Sulfate, a narcotic, is a Schedule II controlled substance under the Federal Controlled Substance Act. As with other narcotics, some patients may develop a physical and psychological dependence on morphine. They may increase dosage without consulting a physician and subsequently may develop a physical dependence on the drug. In such cases, abrupt discontinuance may precipitate typical withdrawal symptoms, including convulsions. Therefore the drug should be withdrawn gradually from any patient known to be taking excessive dosages over a long period of time.
In treating the terminally ill patient the benefit of pain relief may outweigh the possibility of drug dependence. The chance of drug dependence is substantially reduced when the patient is placed on scheduled narcotic programs instead of a “pain to relief-of-pain” cycle typical of a PRN regimen.
Read the Roxanol (morphine sulfate) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
Generally, effects of morphine may be potentiated by alkalizing agents and antagonized by acidifying agents. Analgesic effect of morphine is potentiated by chlorpromazine and methocarbamol. CNS depressants such as anaesthetics, hypnotics, barbiturates, phenothiazines, chloral hydrate, glutethimide, sedatives, MAO inhibitors (including procarbazine hydro-chloride), antihistamines, β-blockers (propranolol), alcohol, furazolidone and other narcotics may enhance the depressant effects of morphine.
Morphine may increase anticoagulant< activity of coumarin and other anticoagulants.
Read the Roxanol Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/22/2007
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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