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The morphine is an analgesic that is obtained from the plant of the opium ( Papaver somniferum ), popularly known as poppy. Opium is one of the most widely used drugs in ancient times, which has now been replaced by its famous derivatives, morphine, and, especially, heroin.


A brief history of morphine

Morphine appeared in the early nineteenth century. At this time, opium (analgesic used to relieve pain) was prescribed. Still, doubts arose when it came to establishing what dose it was convenient to administer according to the purity of the preparation.

The village pharmacist commissioned Friedrich Sertürner to do a quality study of opium, which was dispensed at the pharmacy. The young Friedrich thought of dissolving the drug in acid, then reduced it with ammonia. Finally, he obtained gray crystals that he used experimentally in cats, thus manifesting his hypnotic power (produces sleep). Having a severe toothache, Friedrich decided to try it himself. When he took it, he went into a deep sleep for eight hours. When he woke up, he got up without any discomfort.

Therefore, due to its somniferous virtues, in honor of the god of sleep Morpheus, baptized the substance with the name of morphine.

The opioid was first marketed in 1817, announcing itself as an analgesic that, in addition, could be used in the treatment of addictions to certain substances, such as opium and alcohol. Over time, sadly, it’d be discovered that opiate is even additional addictive than alcohol or narcotics.

Although it has now been displaced by other drugs such as heroin, morphine remains one of the substances preferred by heroin addicts when they cannot access the latter.


Uses of morphine

It is used in the following cases:

  • Postoperative pain
  • Severe chronic pain resistant to other pain relievers
  • Oncological pain
  • Transient pain of severe intensity.
  • Pain associated with myocardial infarction.

This opioid can be administered orally (oral solution, tablets, and capsules retard) and parenterally (subcutaneously, intravenously, intramuscularly, epidurally, and intrathecally). The dose should be individually adapted to each patient, depending on the severity of the pain that is present and the response to the analgesic.

In kids, it’s solely used exceptionally and in prescribed doses, per their body mass. Pregnant women are only given morphine when there is no alternative and, given that the substance passes into breast milk, breastfeeding should be discontinued when morphine treatment is started.


Contraindications to the use of morphine

In certain circumstances, your employment is contraindicated, such as:

  • When the patient has an allergic reaction of any kind.
  • When you can interact with other medications, the patient is taking.
  • During pregnancy and lactation.
  • In children under one year.
  • If the patient suffers from respiratory depression or respiratory diseases that present with serious obstructions.
  • In patients with cranial trauma or elevated intracranial pressure.
  • Before the surgical intervention, or in the first 24 hours after it.
  • When the patient suffers from convulsive disorders.
  • In all cases in which the patient suffers, a disease that the doctor considers may be aggravated by the use of the drug.

Morphine side effects

Morphine has significant side effects, such as:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Alteration in blood test results.
  • Drowsiness, disorientation, dizziness, instability.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Euphoria.
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth.
  • Constipation.
  • Respiratory disorders or variations in blood pressure.
  • Asthenia.
  • Pruritus.
  • Dependency (may occur if its use is prolonged).
  • It can aggravate the patient’s condition when he suffers from diseases such as pancreatitis, asthma, COPD, alcoholism, hypotension, chronic constipation, hypothyroidism, severe liver, or kidney disorders, among others.
  • The physical dependence on the vertebrate and withdrawal syndrome within the baby if administered to a pregnant girl. In addition, it passes into breast milk, so it should not be used during breastfeeding.
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