Morphine Sulfate Oral, Extended Release Pill (MSER)
Opioids are the strongest form of medication used to treat pain. Opioids work by attaching to opioid receptors, which are found in many areas of the body, including the brain, spinal cord and gastrointestinal tract. An opioid attaches to the receptor, which reduces the transmission of pain messages to the brain, reducing pain. Opioids are used to treat moderate to severe pain that is not well managed with other pain medications. They do not treat the underlying cause of the pain. If cancer is causing the pain, the cancer treatment is aimed at reducing the pain.
There are several different formulations of morphine. This formulation is a quick acting pill used for the treatment of acute pain. Acute pain is pain that comes on quickly and occurs intermittently and is sometimes referred to as breakthrough pain. This medication can be used with another medication used to treat chronic pain.
How to Take Morphine Sulfate Extended Release Pill
This form of morphine is a pill and is taken with or without food, either as needed for pain or as a regularly scheduled medication, as decided by your care provider. Morphine sulfate extended release pills come in various dosages. Your doctor will determine the exact dosage and dosing schedule. MSIR begins working in 55 minutes, although it reaches its peak effect in 1 hour. It will continue to work for 2 to 4 hours.
It is important to make sure you are taking the correct amount of medication every time. Before every dose, check that what you are taking matches what you have been prescribed.
This medication can interact with other medications that depress the central nervous system like barbituates (including phenobarbital), tranquilizers (including Haldol®, Librium® and Xanax ®), other narcotics and general anesthetic. The blood levels of this medication can be affected by certain foods and medications, so they may require dose adjustment or should be avoided. These include: grapefruit, grapefruit juice, verapamil, ketoconazole, rifampin, phenytoin, St. John’s wort, and modafanil. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all medications and supplements you take.
DO NOT share this medication or give it to someone else, as severe breathing problems and death can occur.
This medication can cause dizziness, sleepiness and confusion. You should not drive or operate machinery while taking this medication until you know how it will affect you.
Storage and Handling
Store this medication at room temperature in the original container. Due to the risk of diversion (someone else taking your narcotic medication to obtain a high, rather than for symptom relief), you may want to consider keeping your medication in a lock box or other secure location. Keep this medication out of reach of children and pets.
Less common, but important side effects can include:
- Serotonin Syndrome: This medication can cause a high level of serotonin in your body, which in rare cases, can lead to serotonin syndrome. Symptoms can include shivering, agitation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, fever, seizures, and changes in muscle function. Symptoms can arise hours to days after continued use, but can also occur later. This is a serious side effect and you should contact your care provider immediately if you have any of these side effects.
- Adrenal Insufficiency: Adrenal insufficiency (inadequate function of the adrenal gland) is a rare but serious side effect of taking this medication. It most often occurs after taking the medication for one month or longer. Symptoms are not very specific, but can include nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and low blood pressure. It is important to contact your care provider if you experience any of these side effects.
- Allergic Reaction: Although it is uncommon, some people are allergic reaction to certain opioid preparations. If after taking morphine or other opioids, you experience chest tightness, swelling, wheezing, fever, itching, blue skin color or cough, you need to call 911. These side effects are emergency situations. If any of these symptoms occur, you should seek emergency medical attention.