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What Are the Common Side Effects of Morphine?

A syringe and container of morphine.
Morphine is derived from the opium poppy.
Nausea is a possible side effect of morphine.
Although rare, morphine can cause shallow breathing and a slowed heart rate.
Confusion is one side effect of taking morphine.
Dizziness can be caused by morphine.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 03 August 2014
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Morphine is a prescription medication that may be used to treat moderate to severe pain. Morphine may be given in emergency situations or just after surgery, although it is sometimes used to treat pain caused by chronic medical conditions such as cancer. Side effects of morphine may include constipation, dizziness, or insomnia. More serious potential side effects of morphine include confusion, seizures, or slowed heart or breathing rates.

Dizziness, itching, and a mild skin rash are among the most common side effects of morphine. These side effects are generally mild, although the patient should not drive or perform any activities that require extreme focus or balance after taking this medication. Some patients may experience a warm, tingling feeling shortly after taking morphine, especially if this drug is given in the form of an injection. Stomach pain may develop after taking morphine, especially if taking the medication in pill form, although this pain usually only lasts for a few minutes.

Stomach or intestinal disturbances may sometimes occur as side effects of morphine. This may include nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite. Constipation is also a potential side effect, although this is more common when the drug is taken for an extended period of time. Memory problems, lack of focus, and mild confusion are common side effects of morphine usage.

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Serious side effects of morphine are rare, but they should be reported to a doctor right away if they occur. Some of these side effects of morphine may include shallow breathing or a slowed heart rate. Extreme confusion or lightheadedness that leads to fainting should be reported to a medical professional. Occasionally, the patient may start to have seizures or convulsions, even if there is no prior history of a seizure disorder.

Rarely, a severe allergic reaction to morphine may occur. This is a serious complication and should be treated as a medical emergency. Signs of a possible allergic reaction include swelling of the face, tongue, or throat. A rash or hives may develop, and breathing may become difficult or impossible. Without immediate medical care, this can be a potentially life-threatening condition.

Addiction is among the possible side effects of morphine, especially if this medication is used on a long-term basis. It is important that morphine is taken exactly as prescribed by the doctor. If the patient notices a desire to take more than the prescribed amount, a doctor should be consulted right away.

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Discuss this Article

SteamLouis
Post 3

I had severe constipation when I was on morphine. I had to take laxatives throughout my treatment. I think constipation is a very common side effect.

bluedolphin
Post 2

@ddljohn-- Morphine withdrawal can be very tough. I hope you reduced your dose slowly because quitting cold turkey intensifies withdrawal symptoms tenfold in my opinion.

I had difficulty sleeping when I was withdrawing from morphine as well. I also felt very tired, like I was down with a cold. I had hot flashes and a bunch of gastro-intestinal issues like nausea and diarrhea.

It took about a month for everything to go away. The first two weeks were the worst and then it was much milder the last two weeks. Hang in there!

If the symptoms get worse though, talk to your doctor. You might be able to take some other medications to ease the withdrawal symptoms or the doctor might put you back on a low dose of morphine so that you can cut down on the dose more slowly.

ddljohn
Post 1

Has anyone been addicted to morphine? What kind of withdrawal symptoms did you experience? How did you get through it?

I was on morphine for pain relief for several months and recently stopped taking it. I've been experiencing many withdrawal effects like insomnia, migraines and anxiety since I quit. Life is unbearable right now. I hope these symptoms go away soon.

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