Morphine is an opioid used to treat both acute and chronic pain. It can be taken orally, by injection into a muscle, by injection under the skin, intravenously, injection into the space around the spinal cord or rectally.] Maximum effect is reached after about 20 minutes when given intravenously and after 60 minutes when given orally.
Morphine’s duration is generally 3–7 hours, however long-acting formulations also exist.
Potentially serious side effects include decreased respiratory effort and low blood pressure. Morphine is addictive and prone to abuse. If the dose is reduced after long-term use, opioid withdrawal symptoms may occur.
Common side effects include drowsiness, vomiting, and constipation. Caution is advised when used during pregnancy or breast feeding, as morphine may affect the baby.
Morphine was named after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, for its tendency to cause sleep.
The drug was first isolated between 1803 and 1805 and first commercially marketed in 1827.
Morphine became more widely used after the invention of the hypodermic syringe in 1853–1855.
Morphine is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.
That means it’s one of the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.
Like other opioids, morphine is highly addictive.
In fact, about 70 percent of morphine is used to make other opioids, including hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and heroin.