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Morphine is an opium alkaloid that occurs naturally in the sap of the papaver somniferum (opium poppy) plant. In humans it acts as an extremely potent opiate analgesic (painkiller) and has an extremely high potential for addiction with both physical and psychological addiction developing rapidly with frequent use.


When sold as a pharmaceutical product, morphine either comes as a solution for injection (in ampoules) or in tablet form. Morphine tablets are either instant or controlled-release.


Morphine in tablet form is usually sold as either the hydrochloride or sulphate salt.

Controlled-release (MS Contin®)[]

MS Contin® is a time-released formulation of morphine sulphate distributed by Purdue Pharma. It is available in both tablet and liquid formats which come in doses of 15, 30, 60, 100 and 200 mg. It is usually prescribed to cancer patients and individuals suffering from severe trauma.


Morphine in an injectable form is usually disributed to hospitals for in-patient/ward administration.

Pill-symbol Drug properties
DrugBank ID APRD00215
Common formulations Morphine citrate, morphine hydrochloride, morphine sulphate.
Bioavailability ~25% (oral), 100% (IV)
Half life 2-3 hours
Metabolism Hepatic 90%
Excretion Renal 90%, biliary 10%
Other considerations
Routes of administration Inhalation, insufflation, oral, subcutaneous, intramuscular, intravenous (IV)
Dependency potential Very high
Legal status Controlled/S8 (AU), Schedule I (CA), Class A (UK), Schedule II (US).

See also[]