What Is Ethylmorphine?

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  • Written By: Glyn Sinclair
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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Ethylmorphine is an opiate narcotic pain killer that can also be found in certain cough medicines. Narcotic refers to a substance that is able to affect behavior, and opiate refers to a drug that is derived from opium. Ethylmorphine is converted to morphine in the liver and as such can be habit-forming in some cases and is typically obtained by prescription only. Cough syrup containing ethylmorphine may be purchased over the counter in certain countries if proper identification is produced. It can also be used during certain ophthalmology procedures dealing with the eyes.

Conditions such as miosis can be treated with ethylmorphine. This is when the pupils of the eyes constrict due to certain drugs or other underlying pathological reasons. It is also used as an antitussive for dry, hacking coughs. Antitussive refers to medications that serve to relieve or reduce excessive bouts of coughing. Studies are looking into the possibility of using the drug as a means of reducing withdrawal symptoms for those who are dependent on opioid drugs, which are a class of drugs that act as narcotic analgesics, or pain killers.


Although side effects from taking this medication are few, patients who experience swelling of the throat and tongue, rashes and difficulty breathing should contact their doctor immediately. There can be more serious side effects when the drug is taken in conjunction with alcohol and other medications or street drugs that have an inhibiting effect on the body’s central nervous system. Some of these drug combinations can also cause breathing to become depressed and in some cases death can occur. People taking certain antidepressant drugs should consult with their doctor as they could lead to severe changes in ethylmorphine’s effects. Liver damage is another potential serious side effect of this drug.

When taken orally, ethylmorphine dosage generally ranges from 5 mg to 50 mg. The drug is typically not injected into the patient as there is a danger of rapid histamine release into the body which could lead to severe allergic reaction. There is some research to indicate that a dose of 500 mg or more could potentially be lethal. Due to the dependency factor, ethylmorphine is typically used as a short term medical solution. Side effects of over dosing could include nausea and vomiting and patients should seek immediate medical help if they experience these symptoms.

When used as a pain killer, ethylmorphine should always be taken under the supervision of a medical professional. Certain people will have different tolerance levels than others, and as such some may have a lower threshold for negative reactions.


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