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What is Morphine?

By Felicia Dye
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Morphine is a narcotic drug that is primarily used for pain relief, but which may also be used for the treatment of severe coughing. It belongs to a family of drugs known as opiates, which are generally produced from the poppy plant. Morphine is potentially addictive, and attempts to suddenly stop taking the drug, even when it has been used as prescribed, can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

A German pharmacist named Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Serturner is given credit for discovering morphine in 1805. Although today there is a known method for producing it synthetically, the drug is still usually produced from opium, which is a raw product produced from the seeds of poppy plants. This medication is available in several forms, including syrup, pills, and injections. It is used for the treatment of pain, especially after surgeries, and it is also sometimes used to suppress severe coughing.

Although the drug is prescribed to provide pain relief, it should be understood that it does not eliminate pain. Instead, it distorts the mind's perception of pain. When this drug is introduced into the body, it produces several effects. These include reducing the rate of breathing, lowering the heart rate, and slowing down the brain's activity. This narcotic not only affects how the mind perceives pain, it also tends to alter a person's general mental functioning and her sense of awareness.

Morphine produces euphoria, and it may have other unintended effects on the body, such as reducing a person's sex drive, altering her menstrual cycle, and suppressing hunger. Other common side effects of this drug are nausea and constipation. Taking this drug also presents the risk of addiction. People tend to develop a tolerance to the drug, meaning they need increasing amounts to satisfy their needs.

Those who are prescribed this narcotic drug are usually warned not to attempt to suddenly stop taking it without the direction of a medical professional. If this advice is not heeded, it is likely the individual will experience withdrawal symptoms. These include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and chills. not every person can tolerate morphine. The drug is not advised for people who have had allergic reactions to other narcotic medications.

Other individuals for whom the drug may be unsuitable include people with low blood pressure, breathing disorders, or liver disease. People with a history of mental illness or substance abuse problems should only take the medication if these facts are fully disclosed to and thoroughly considered by a physician. Pregnant women and those who are breast feeding are generally not considered suitable candidates to take this drug since it is likely to be transmitted to the baby.

Morphine is a controlled substance in most industrialized countries. This means that possession of the drug is generally limited to authorized producers, distributors, and consumers. In the event that other individuals are caught possessing or supplying the narcotic, they are likely to face penalties that may include imprisonment.

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Discussion Comments
By anon125711 — On Nov 10, 2010

I have been taking morphine sulphate for nine years. My doctor and i signed a contract that i can only receive the medication from him, and i must use the same pharmacy. Also my dose cannot be raised.

I feel these restrictions have helped me to be in control, not the morphine. With opiate addiction being such a common problem now, all doctors should have strict restrictions like my doctor, so that patients can be educated and still live life pain free.

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