If your doctor has prescribed you morphine to treat severe pain, but you’ve never taken opioids, you may be unsure of how they will affect you. .
This is understandable and you may have many questions concerning the effects of this medication on your body. We are here to help.
So, how long does morphine stay in your system?
The answer to this question varies from person to person. You will find all the information on this topic you may need in our guide. We will go over what morphine is, how it works, how long it lasts, how it can be detected in your system, and much more, so keep reading!
What is Morphine?
Morphine is an opioid medication that can be made synthetically or derived from the opium poppy plant. This drug belongs to a group of medications called analgesics and reduces pain by blocking the pain signals from reaching your brain. While doing this, morphine also reduces cognitive function and neural activity and slows down the central nervous system.
Typically, a medical professional will prescribe morphine to treat moderate to severe levels of pain. This most commonly occurs after a patient has undergone surgery, suffered a serious injury or while they are being treated for cancer.
Morphine is available in several different forms, including a liquid solution, an injection, an extended-release capsule, an extended-release tablet, and an immediate-release tablet. You might recognize it by some of its more common brand names, such as:
- MS Contin
- Oramorph SR
- Arymo ER
While this medication can be very effective, there’s still a chance that it may cause addiction in patients who take it. If you feel that you might be at an increased risk of addiction, you should have a discussion with your physician and consider other non-opioid pain medications and therapies.
How Does Morphine Work?
As mentioned previously, morphine relieves pain by stopping pain signals from traveling between the body and the brain. It does so by binding directly to the opioid receptors in the central nervous system.
How Long Does It Take For Morphine To Start Working?
The amount of time it takes to begin feeling the effects of morphine depends on the form of the medication you have taken. It can also vary depending on:
- Age of the patient
- Overall medical condition
- Previous opioid use
When the effects do begin to set in, you may experience more than pain relief. It is likely that you will also feel euphoria and fatigue, and your breathing may slow down.
When you take an extended-release form of morphine, the dosage is released in stages over a period of time. However, you can expect to begin feeling some relief within an hour after taking it.
If you have taken an immediate-release form of this medication, you will likely feel the effects starting within 15-60 minutes, but the exact timeframe may vary.
How Long Do Morphine Effects Last?
Much like the onset period, how long the effects last depends on the type of morphine that you have taken. If you are taking an immediate-release form of morphine, it is likely that the effects will begin to fade within 4–6 hours from the time you took it. When you take the extended-release formulation of morphine, the effects typically last for up to 12 hours.
However, even when you no longer feel the effects of morphine, the drug remains in your system for some time. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to only take it as instructed by a medical professional. Otherwise, you could increase your risk of overdosing.
How Long Does Morphine Stay in Your System?
Morphine can be detected in a person’s system through a variety of tests, including the examination of their saliva, urine, blood, and hair, with urine testing being the most common.
This drug is known to have a short half-life, meaning that at least half of the medication is metabolized within the first 1.5–7 hours after taking it. Within 72 hours, most of a single dose will be eliminated through an individual’s urine.
The exact amount of time that morphine remains in your body depends on various factors, such as dosage, medical conditions, and any other medications that you may be taking.
The dosage makes a difference because the length of time it takes to be eliminated from your body is directly related to the amount of morphine in the body. Also, some medical conditions, such as liver or kidney impairments, may slow the rate at which your body eliminates morphine.
Blood tests are used less commonly than other forms of drug testing because they are more expensive and more invasive. They will be able to show the presence of morphine in your body for up to three days after you last took the dose.
Urine testing is the most common method for drug screening, and these tests can detect morphine in your urine for the first four days after your last use. The urine sample can be tested in different ways: via chromatography or immunoassay.
Although this type of testing is done less frequently, it does have its benefits. It can detect morphine in your hair for a much longer period than any other form of testing, usually for up to 90 days after the last time you used it.
Just like via a blood test, morphine can show up in your saliva for up to three days after you took your last dose. The detection time is similar to that of blood testing because the detection of any morphine in your saliva typically occurs while the drug circulates through the bloodstream.
The half-life of the medication may be slightly different in some people, but it typically lands somewhere between 2 and 3.5 hours. The speed at which your body breaks down morphine can be affected by your overall health, body weight, eating habits, liver function, age, genetics, and many other factors.
The half-life may also be dependent on the type of morphine you are taking. For example, immediate-release morphine has been found to have a half-life that ranges from 1.5 to 4 hours. On the other hand, extended-release formulations usually have a half-life of 2 to 4 hours, while the injection’s half-life goes up to 24 hours.
Factors that Influence How Long Morphine Stays in the System
As we have already learned, several factors determine how long the effects of morphine will last. These include:
- Age. The older you are, the longer morphine will stay in your system. This is because some parts of your organism, such as your kidneys, may process the medication more slowly than they used to.
- Diet. When you take medication on a full stomach, the food will slow down the absorption of the drug in your digestive tract. However, it is often recommended that you take an opioid pain reliever with food to reduce some of the common gastrointestinal side effects.
- Liver health. If the health of your liver is impaired in any way, morphine may remain in your system for longer than usual. This is because your body has a harder time breaking it down and metabolizing it.
- Dosing. The dose that you have been prescribed is directly related to the length of time that it will remain in your body. In other words, the higher the dose, the longer it will take your body to eliminate it.
Most opioids are known to have a high risk for abuse and addiction, and morphine is not an exception. In fact, it is considered a Schedule II narcotic because of its high addiction potential.
You likely wouldn’t intentionally become addicted to prescription pain medication, but you are at risk anytime you take them. Contrary to popular belief, morphine dependency can be developed in as little as one dose because of the instant high that it provides.
If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, you might notice several mental, physical, or behavioral changes. These may include:
- Decreased self-care and poor hygiene
- Financial struggles
- Lying or keeping secrets
- Withdrawing from normal activities with friends and family
- Decreased performance at school or work
- Unwillingness to commit to things that they used to think were important or enjoyable
You can decrease your risk of addiction by never taking this drug unless it was prescribed to you by your physician and using it exactly as it has been prescribed. You should only use morphine for its intended purpose of relieving pain and never solely for the euphoric effects and relaxation.
Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms
Morphine detoxification occurs when you eliminate the substance from your body. As you have learned, this happens over a period of time after you have taken your last dose.
When detoxing from morphine, the process is expected to begin roughly 12 hours after you take your last dose. The detoxification process then peaks approximately three days after your last dose and begins to calm down after 7–10 days.
It may be accompanied by some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Cold- and flu-like symptoms
- Insomnia and other sleeping issues
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Excessive sweating
- Drowsiness or fatigue
These symptoms will be more severe in individuals who choose to stop a drug suddenly (or “cold turkey”). However, while the symptoms may be less severe if you slowly taper off your dosage, the withdrawal phase may last for a longer period of time.
ANR Treatment for Morphine Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling to defeat morphine addiction, ANR Clinic has the treatment for you. If you have tried other conventional rehabs and detox programs with little to no success, you can stop worrying—we are here to take control and help you return to a life of normalcy.
The Accelerated Neuro-Regulation treatment has been developed to return the brain to its pre-addiction state during a 36-hour hospital stay. We achieve this by treating the biological root of opioid dependency. Dr. Andre Waismann began studying addiction in the ’90s and has successfully treated over 24,000 patients with ANR since then!
Increasing endorphin production and altering opioid receptors to return the brain to its pre-addiction state helps the patient overcome addiction without cravings or withdrawal symptoms.
Whether you have just been prescribed morphine by your physician or you have been struggling with opioid abuse and dependence, you should be aware of the potential risks and side effects associated with this drug.
Here are a few key points to take away from this article:
- Morphine is an opioid pain medication that is naturally derived from the opium poppy plant and is available in a variety of forms and brand names.
- The presence of this drug in a person’s body can be detected through several types of testing, such as blood, urine, hair, and saliva tests.
- The length of time that morphine stays in your system depends on several factors, including your age, body weight, diet, kidney and liver function, etc.
- Morphine has a high risk of abuse and addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with this, the ANR Clinic has the answer for you.