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Side effects of morphine sulphate

Morphine sulfate Contin (MS Contin, Avinza or Kadian) is a tablet used for chronic treatment of moderate to severe pain. These kinds of tablets have controlled release, and because of that they are usually given twice a day.

MS Contin tablets should be taken as your doctor has prescribed them. Follow the doctor's orders and do not change the dosage yourself. Swallow whole tablets, do not crush or chew them.

Kadian capsules are not meant to be dissolved and should not be mixed with food.

Alcohol should be avoided while using MS Contin.

Adverse Effects

The most dangerous side effect of this medication is respiratory depression. The breathing can become dangerously slow and might lead to a patient’s death. Elderly patients in weak condition or those with lung or breathing problems are at higher risk of this side effect.

Other serious issues connected with the use of MS Contin are apnea, respiratory arrest, shock and cardiac arrest. The most common side effects are nausea, constipation and sleepiness. Most of the treated patients experience vomiting, sweating, dizziness and sedation.

Other side effects of MS Contin include: anxiety, irritation or depression, drowsiness, sedation, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting and sometimes dizziness and sweating.

Morphine sulfate is known to cause different cardiovascular problems, like bradycardia or tachycardia, palpitations, syncope and blood pressure problems. It could cause both hypo- and hyper-tension.

Patients report dyspepsia, dysphagia, gastroenteritis, biliary pain, rectal disorders and changes in liver enzymes. Sometimes, MS Contin may be the cause of anemia or thrombocytopenia, or cause edema.

Nervous system changes are usually noticeable: sleeping and dreaming problems, confusion, hallucinations, headache, anxiety, vertigo, lethargy, delirium and even coma.

Patients on morphine sulfate might have urinary problems, like urinary retention, dysuria or oliguria, or the medication may have an anti-diuretic effect. There have been reported cases of impotence, decreased libido and ejaculation problems. 


MS Contin has addiction potential, like any other narcotic painkiller. Do not stop the treatment on your own, without consultation with your doctor. If stopped abruptly, morphine sulfate may cause withdrawal symptoms. The patients usually feel sweating, restlessness, dilated pupils, goose bumps, sleeping problems, tearing and runny nose. After couple of days, withdrawal symptoms tend to manifest as: anxiety, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, insomnia, abdominal cramps and pain, muscle twitching and spasms, increased body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate, etc. Withdrawal symptoms usually take a week or two, but they can remain persistent up to 6 months.

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