Prescription Drug Information: Morphine Sulfate (Page 2 of 5)

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.

7.5 Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

MAOIs markedly potentiate the action of morphine sulfate. Allow at least 14 days after stopping treatment with MAOIs before initiating treatment with morphine sulfate.

7.6 Anticholinergics

Anticholinergics or other medications with anticholinergic activity when used concurrently with opioid analgesics may result in increased risk of urinary retention and/or severe constipation, which may lead to paralytic ileus.

7.7 P-Glycoprotein (PGP) Inhibitors

Based on published reports, PGP inhibitors (e.g. quinidine) may increase the absorption/exposure of morphine sulfate by about two fold. Therefore, exercise caution when morphine sulfate is co-administered with PGP inhibitors.


8.1 Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects (Pregnancy Category C)

No formal studies to assess the teratogenic effects of morphine in animals have been conducted. It is also not known whether morphine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproductive capacity. Morphine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

In humans, the frequency of congenital anomalies has been reported to be no greater than expected among the children of 70 women who were treated with morphine during the first four months of pregnancy or in 448 women treated with this drug anytime during pregnancy. Furthermore, no malformations were observed in the infant of a woman who attempted suicide by taking an overdose of morphine and other medication during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Several literature reports indicate that morphine administered subcutaneously during the early gestational period in mice and hamsters produced neurological, soft tissue and skeletal abnormalities. With one exception, the effects that have been reported were following doses that were maternally toxic and the abnormalities noted were characteristic to those observed when maternal toxicity is present. In one study, following subcutaneous infusion of doses greater than or equal to 0.15 mg/kg to mice, exencephaly, hydronephrosis, intestinal hemorrhage, split supraoccipital, malformed sternebrae, and malformed xiphoid were noted in the absence of maternal toxicity. In the hamster, morphine sulfate given subcutaneously on gestation day 8 produced exencephaly and cranioschisis. In rats treated with subcutaneous infusions of morphine during the period of organogenesis, no teratogenicity was observed. No maternal toxicity was observed in this study, however, increased mortality and growth retardation were seen in the offspring. In two studies performed in the rabbit, no evidence of teratogenicity was reported at subcutaneous doses up to 100 mg/kg.

Nonteratogenic Effects

Controlled studies of chronic morphine exposure in pregnant women have not been conducted. Infants born to mothers who have taken opioids chronically may exhibit withdrawal symptoms, reversible reduction in brain volume, small size, decreased ventilatory response to CO and increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Morphine sulfate should be used by a pregnant woman only if the need for opioid analgesia clearly outweighs the potential risks to the fetus. in utero 2

Published literature has reported that exposure to morphine during pregnancy is associated with reduction in growth and a host of behavioral abnormalities in the offspring. Morphine treatment during gestational periods of organogenesis in rats, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits resulted in the following treatment-related embryotoxicity and neonatal toxicity in one or more studies: decreased litter size, embryo-fetal viability, fetal and neonatal body weights, absolute brain and cerebellar weights, delayed motor and sexual maturation, and increased neonatal mortality, cyanosis and hypothermia. Decreased fertility in female offspring, and decreased plasma and testicular levels of luteinizing hormone and testosterone, decreased testes weights, seminiferous tubule shrinkage, germinal cell aplasia, and decreased spermatogenesis in male offspring were also observed. Decreased litter size and viability were observed in the offspring of male rats administered morphine (25 mg/kg, IP) for 1 day prior to mating. Behavioral abnormalities resulting from chronic morphine exposure of fetal animals included altered reflex and motor skill development, mild withdrawal, and altered responsiveness to morphine persisting into adulthood.

8.2 Labor and Delivery

Opioids cross the placenta and may produce respiratory depression and psycho-physiologic effects in neonates. Morphine sulfate is 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. Closely observe neonates whose mothers received opioid analgesics during labor for signs of respiratory depression. Have a specific opioid antagonist, such as naloxone, available for reversal of opioid-induced respiratory depression in the neonate.

8.3 Nursing Mothers

Low levels of morphine sulfate have been detected in maternal milk. The milk:plasma morphine AUC ratio is about 2.5:1. The amount of morphine sulfate delivered to the infant depends on the plasma concentration of the mother, the amount of milk ingested by the infant, and the extent of first-pass metabolism. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from morphine sulfate including respiratory depression, sedation and possibly withdrawal symptoms, upon cessation of morphine sulfate administration to the mother, decide whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness and the pharmacokinetics of Morphine Sulfate Oral Solution in pediatric patients below the age of 18 have not been established. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed prescription drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual prescription drug label and package insert entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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