Pain Home > Morphine Effects

Morphine is a narcotic, opiate pain medication that works by binding to opioid receptors in the body. This causes several different effects, including cough suppression, drowsiness, and certain changes in the circulatory system. In some cases, people may experience an unusual pleasant feeling (euphoria), which may lead to dependence on the drug. Most side effects of morphine tend to be minor and may include drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea.

Medical Effects of Morphine

Morphine is a narcotic, opiate pain reliever. It binds to opioid receptors throughout the body and produces numerous different effects. These effects include, but are not limited to:
  • Pain relief
  • Cough suppression
  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety relief
  • Unusual unpleasant feelings (dysphoria) or unusual pleasant feelings (euphoria)
  • Decreased breathing (slow or shallow breathing)
  • Certain changes in the circulatory system
  • Slowing of the digestive tract
  • Release of histamine (which often causes itching)
  • Physical dependence.
(See Morphine Uses for more information.)

Recreational Morphine Effects

Morphine is commonly abused. People may experience euphoria due to morphine. Frequent use of morphine leads to tolerance and dependence. This means that a higher morphine dosage will be necessary to achieve the desired effects, and the body will become accustomed to the effects (and morphine withdrawal symptoms may occur if the drug is stopped).
(See Morphine Addiction for more information.)

Side Effects of Morphine

As with any medicine, morphine can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. Most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of this drug include, but are not limited to:
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • An unusual unpleasant feeling (dysphoria) or an unusual pleasant feeling (euphoria)
  • Constipation (see Morphine and Constipation).
(Click Morphine Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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