Morphine Sulfate: Package Insert and Label Information (Page 2 of 4)

7.2 Muscle Relaxants

Morphine sulfate may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression.

7.3 Mixed Agonist/Antagonist Opioid Analgesics

Do not administer mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics (i.e., pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) to patients who have received or are receiving a course of therapy with a pure opioid agonist analgesic such as morphine sulfate. In these patients, mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect and/or may precipitate withdrawal symptoms.

7.4 Cimetidine

Concomitant administration of morphine sulfate and cimetidine has been reported to precipitate apnea, confusion, and muscle twitching in an isolated report. Monitor patients for increased respiratory and CNS depression when receiving cimetidine concomitantly with morphine sulfate.

7.5 Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

MAOIs markedly potentiate the action of morphine sulfate. Allow at least 14 days after stopping treatment with MAOIs before initiating treatment with morphine sulfate.

7.6 Anticholinergics

Anticholinergics or other medications with anticholinergic activity when used concurrently with opioid analgesics may result in increased risk of urinary retention and/or severe constipation, which may lead to paralytic ileus.

7.7 P-Glycoprotein (PGP) Inhibitors

Based on published reports, PGP inhibitors (e.g. quinidine) may increase the absorption/exposure of morphine sulfate by about two fold. Therefore, exercise caution when morphine sulfate is co-administered with PGP inhibitors.


8.1 Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects (Pregnancy Category C)

No formal studies to assess the teratogenic effects of morphine in animals have been conducted. It is also not known whether morphine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproductive capacity. Morphine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

In humans, the frequency of congenital anomalies has been reported to be no greater than expected among the children of 70 women who were treated with morphine during the first four months of pregnancy or in 448 women treated with this drug anytime during pregnancy. Furthermore, no malformations were observed in the infant of a woman who attempted suicide by taking an overdose of morphine and other medication during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Several literature reports indicate that morphine administered subcutaneously during the early gestational period in mice and hamsters produced neurological, soft tissue and skeletal abnormalities. With one exception, the effects that have been reported were following doses that were maternally toxic and the abnormalities noted were characteristic to those observed when maternal toxicity is present. In one study, following subcutaneous infusion of doses greater than or equal to 0.15 mg/kg to mice, exencephaly, hydronephrosis, intestinal hemorrhage, split supraoccipital, malformed sternebrae, and malformed xiphoid were noted in the absence of maternal toxicity. In the hamster, morphine sulfate given subcutaneously on gestation day 8 produced exencephaly and cranioschisis. In rats treated with subcutaneous infusions of morphine during the period of organogenesis, no teratogenicity was observed. No maternal toxicity was observed in this study, however, increased mortality and growth retardation were seen in the offspring. In two studies performed in the rabbit, no evidence of teratogenicity was reported at subcutaneous doses up to 100 mg/kg.

Nonteratogenic Effects

Controlled studies of chronic morphine exposure in pregnant women have not been conducted. Infants born to mothers who have taken opioids chronically may exhibit withdrawal symptoms, reversible reduction in brain volume, small size, decreased ventilatory response to CO and increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Morphine sulfate should be used by a pregnant woman only if the need for opioid analgesia clearly outweighs the potential risks to the fetus. in utero 2

Published literature has reported that exposure to morphine during pregnancy is associated with reduction in growth and a host of behavioral abnormalities in the offspring. Morphine treatment during gestational periods of organogenesis in rats, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits resulted in the following treatment-related embryotoxicity and neonatal toxicity in one or more studies: decreased litter size, embryo-fetal viability, fetal and neonatal body weights, absolute brain and cerebellar weights, delayed motor and sexual maturation, and increased neonatal mortality, cyanosis and hypothermia. Decreased fertility in female offspring, and decreased plasma and testicular levels of luteinizing hormone and testosterone, decreased testes weights, seminiferous tubule shrinkage, germinal cell aplasia, and decreased spermatogenesis in male offspring were also observed. Decreased litter size and viability were observed in the offspring of male rats administered morphine (25 mg/kg, IP) for 1 day prior to mating. Behavioral abnormalities resulting from chronic morphine exposure of fetal animals included altered reflex and motor skill development, mild withdrawal, and altered responsiveness to morphine persisting into adulthood.

8.2 Labor and Delivery

Opioids cross the placenta and may produce respiratory depression and psycho-physiologic effects in neonates. Morphine sulfate is not recommended for use in women during and immediately prior to labor. Occasionally, opioid analgesics may prolong labor through actions which temporarily reduce the strength, duration and frequency of uterine contractions. However this effect is not consistent and may be offset by an increased rate of cervical dilatation, which tends to shorten labor. Closely observe neonates whose mothers received opioid analgesics during labor for signs of respiratory depression. Have a specific opioid antagonist, such as naloxone, available for reversal of opioid-induced respiratory depression in the neonate.

8.3 Nursing Mothers

Low levels of morphine sulfate have been detected in maternal milk. The milk:plasma morphine AUC ratio is about 2.5:1. The amount of morphine sulfate delivered to the infant depends on the plasma concentration of the mother, the amount of milk ingested by the infant, and the extent of first-pass metabolism. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from morphine sulfate including respiratory depression, sedation and possibly withdrawal symptoms, upon cessation of morphine sulfate administration to the mother, decide whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness and the pharmacokinetics of Morphine Sulfate Oral Solution in pediatric patients below the age of 18 have not been established.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Elderly patients (aged 65 years or older) may have increased sensitivity to morphine sulfate. In general, use caution when selecting a dose for an elderly patient, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

8.6 Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome

Chronic maternal use of opioids during pregnancy may cause newborns to suffer from neonatal withdrawal syndrome (NWS) following birth. Manifestations of this syndrome include irritability, hyperactivity, abnormal sleep pattern, high-pitched cry, tremor, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and failure to gain weight. The time and amount of the mother’s last dose and the rate of elimination of the drug from the newborn may affect the onset, duration, and severity of the disorder. When severe symptoms occur, pharmacologic intervention may be required.

8.7 Gender

While evidence of greater post-operative morphine sulfate consumption in men compared to women is present in the literature, clinically significant differences in analgesic outcomes and pharmacokinetic parameters have not been consistently demonstrated. Some studies have shown an increased sensitivity to the adverse effects of morphine sulfate, including respiratory depression, in women compared to men.

8.8 Hepatic Impairment

Morphine sulfate pharmacokinetics have been reported to be significantly altered in patients with cirrhosis. Clearance was found to decrease with a corresponding increase in half-life. The M3G and M6G to morphine AUC ratios also decreased in these subjects, indicating diminished metabolic activity. Start these patients cautiously with lower doses of morphine sulfate and titrate slowly while carefully monitoring for side effects.

8.9 Renal Impairment

Morphine sulfate pharmacokinetics are altered in patients with renal failure. Clearance is decreased and the metabolites, M3G and M6G, may accumulate to much higher plasma levels in patients with renal failure as compared to patients with normal renal function. Start these patients cautiously with lower doses of morphine sulfate and titrate slowly while carefully monitoring for side effects.


9.1 Controlled Substance

Morphine sulfate is a mu-agonist opioid and is a Schedule II controlled substance. Morphine sulfate, like other opioids used in analgesia, can be abused and is subject to criminal diversion.

9.2 Abuse

Drug addiction is characterized by compulsive use, use for non-medical purposes, and continued use despite harm or risk of harm. Drug addiction is a treatable disease, utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach, but relapse is common. “Drug-seeking” behavior is very common in addicts and drug abusers. Drug-seeking tactics include emergency calls or visits near the end of office hours, refusal to undergo appropriate examination, testing or referral, repeated “loss” of prescriptions, tampering with prescriptions and reluctance to provide prior medical records or contact information for other treating physician(s). “Doctor shopping” to obtain additional prescriptions is common among drug abusers and people suffering from untreated addiction.

Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Physicians should be aware that addiction may not be accompanied by concurrent tolerance and symptoms of physical dependence. The converse is also true. In addition, abuse of opioids can occur in the absence of true addiction and is characterized by misuse for non-medical purposes, often in combination with other psychoactive substances. Careful record-keeping of prescribing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests is strongly advised.

Morphine sulfate is intended for oral use only. Abuse of morphine sulfate poses a risk of overdose and death. The risk is increased with concurrent abuse of alcohol and other substances. Parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to limit abuse of opioid drugs.

Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids will also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal symptoms. [ ] See USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS (8.6)

9.3 Dependence

Tolerance is the need for increasing doses of opioids to maintain a defined effect such as analgesia (in the absence of disease progression or other external factors). Physical dependence is manifested by withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation of a drug or upon administration of an antagonist. Physical dependence and tolerance are not unusual during chronic opioid therapy.

The opioid abstinence or withdrawal syndrome is characterized by some or all of the following: restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other symptoms also may develop, including irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate.

In general, taper opioids rather than abruptly discontinue. [See ] DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION (2.5)


10.1 Symptoms

Acute overdosage with morphine sulfate is manifested by respiratory depression (a decrease in respiratory rate and/or tidal volume, Cheyne-Stokes respiration, cyanosis), extreme somnolence progressing to stupor or coma, skeletal muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, and, in some cases, pulmonary edema, bradycardia, hypotension, cardiac arrest and death.

Morphine sulfate may cause miosis, even in total darkness. Pinpoint pupils are a sign of opioid overdose but are not pathognomonic (e.g., pontine lesions of hemorrhagic or ischemic origin may produce similar findings). Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen with hypoxia in overdose situations. [ ] See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY (12)

10.2 Treatment

Give primary attention to re-establishment of a patent airway and institution of assisted or controlled ventilation. Employ supportive measures (including oxygen and vasopressors) in the management of circulatory shock and pulmonary edema accompanying overdose as indicated. Cardiac arrest or arrhythmias may require cardiac massage or defibrillation.

Naloxone is a pure opioid antagonist that is a specific antidote to respiratory depression resulting from opioid overdose. Since the duration of reversal is expected to be less than the duration of action of morphine sulfate, carefully monitor the patient until spontaneous respiration is reliably re-established. If the response to opioid antagonists is sub-optimal or only brief in nature, administer additional antagonist as directed by the manufacturer of the product.

Do not administer opioid antagonists in the absence of clinically significant respiratory or circulatory depression secondary to morphine sulfate overdose. Administer such agents cautiously to persons who are known, or suspected to be physically dependent on morphine sulfate. In such cases, an abrupt or complete reversal of opioid effects may precipitate an acute abstinence syndrome.

In an individual physically dependent on opioids, administration of the usual dose of the antagonist will precipitate an acute withdrawal syndrome. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms experienced will depend on the degree of physical dependence and the dose of the antagonist administered. Reserve use of an opioid antagonist for cases where such treatment is clearly needed. If it is necessary to treat serious respiratory depression in the physically dependent patient, initiate administration of the antagonist with care and titrate with smaller than usual doses.


Chemically, morphine sulfate is 7,8-didehydro-4,5 alpha-epoxy-17 methyl-morphinan-3,6 alpha-diol sulfate (2:1) (salt) pentahydrate with a molecular mass of 758. Morphine sulfate occurs as white, feathery, silky crystals; cubical masses of crystal; or white crystalline powder. It is soluble in water anlightly soluble in alcohol, but is practically insoluble in chloroform or ether. The octanol:water partition coefficient of morphine is 1.42 at physiologic pH and the pKa is 7.9 for the tertiary nitrogen (the majority is ionized at pH 7.4)

Chemical Structure
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For the 10 mg and 20 mg per 5 mL strengths: Each 5 mL of oral solution contains 10 or 20 mg of morphine sulfate USP and the following inactive ingredients: citric acid, edetate disodium, FD&C Green No. 3 (fast green), glycerin, methylparaben (only in 20 mg/5 mL concentration), propylparaben (only in 20 mg/5 mL concentration), sodium benzoate, sorbitol and water.

For the 100 mg per 5 mL (20 mg/mL) strength: Each 5 mL of oral solution contains 100 mg of morphine sulfate USP and the following inactive ingredients: citric acid, edetate disodium, glycerin, sodium benzoate, sorbitol, and water. Additionally, the tinted solution contains D & C Red No. 33 and sucralose. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the US Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual package label entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the US National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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