Friday April 18th 2014

How long does morphine stay in your system?

Have you been ordered a drug test for morphine levels?  Or perhaps you are ready to withdraw from morphine.  Here, we review how long morphine stays in the blood, urine, sweat, and hair. Then we invite your questions about drug testing for morphine, how morphine affects the brain or how to help morphine addiction at the end.

How do you take morphine?

Morphine is marketed under generic and brand names and is available in many prescription forms, such as an injection, orals solutions, immediate and sustained-release tablets and suppositories. Therefore, the traditional route of administration (injecting morphine intravenously) is now supported by oral, rectal and other routes.

Main morphine uses

Morphine is indicated for relief of severe pain. Morphine sulfate is actually the only opioid analgesic approved by the FDA that is available on the market in a dosage form. During surgery, morphine is used in conjunction with other agents, supporting the so called “balanced” anesthesia. It is often recommended for pain due to acute myocardial infraction. Morphine is even indicated in some cases for the treatment of diarrhea, when not caused by toxic materials.

Peak levels and half life of morphine

Depending on the route of administration, morphine has different time ranges of effectiveness and presence in the body. In general, morphine has a short half-life of 1.5 – 7 hours. Following a morphine sulfate injection, morphine reaches the peak after 20 minutes with a half-life of 1.5 hours. Following epidural administration of the smallest dose of extended-release morphine, the opiate has a half-life of 16.2 hours. In contrast, after oral ingestion, morphine reaches peak levels after about 30 minutes and has a half life of about 2-4 hours.

Morphine drug testing: How long does morphine stay in the body?

Morphine may remain in the body for up to 4 days. Almost the whole amount of morphine leaves the body during the first day, through excretion. However, there are traces still present in the feces and the urine for several days.

There are also several factors which can influence the metabolic rate of processing morphine. A patient’s altered metabolism can result in the morphine leaving the body too fast, which will result with not reaching the therapeutic target. It can also result in the opposite direction, with staying in the body for too long and causing toxic effects. A person’s metabolism is totally individual and should go under series of tests and analysis in order to predict the morphine length of stay in the body.

How long does morphine stay in blood?

It is good to know that blood testing provides information about the accurate presence of drugs at the moment of taking the sample, often practiced in drug testing on workplace. A blood testing “time window” for morphine is about 12 hours. The peak level of morphine concentrated in the plasma appears within an hour of oral administration and 5 minutes following an IV injection.

How long does morphine stay in hair?

Morphine stays in hair for weeks or months after use. A single strand of human hair can provide information about the drug-use history going back as far as 90 days, but does not provide any evidence on current impairment.

How long does morphine stay in urine?

Urine excretion is the main route that morphine takes to leave the body and takes place during the first 24 hours within the last taken dose. Interestingly, a really small amount of the dose finds it’s way out with the urine, being totally unchanged! Often the concentration of that amount may indicate a chronic use of the drug. Nonetheless, test results show positive on morphine even after 2 to 3 days after prolonged use.

How long does morphine stay in saliva or sweat?

Drugs do not stay in oral fluids as long as in urine. Only small traces of morphine appear in the sweat or in a mother’s breast milk up to 4 days after injection.

Morphine and addiction

What should you do if you think you’re addicted to morphine? First, you should never stop taking morphine, or any other opioid, without consulting your doctor, because you could experience sudden withdrawal effects. However, physical dependence on morphine is not the same as drug addiction. The risk of becoming addicted to morphine is higher if you’ve previously been addicted to other drugs or alcohol, or you have a history of mental problems. So if you think that you may be at risk of addiction, seek help with your primary physician, a drug counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist for evaluation.

Problems with morphine?

In case you have been taking morphine for too long, you can develop a certain level of morphine tolerance. If you are experiencing breathing problems, nausea and diarrhea, then you’re going through some of the most common side effects of the use of morphine. In such cases it is best to contact a doctor.

Morphine system questions

Still have questions about the metabolism of morphine? Please leave your questions in the comments section below. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: Daily Med: Morphine sulfate tablets
NHTSA: Morphine
MedLine Plus: Morphine Oral
FDA: Drug Safety Morphine
eLaws – Employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses, Drug-Free Workplace Advisor 
NCBI; Biochemical basis of sex differences in drug metabolism

Photo credit: Martz90

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2 Responses to “How long does morphine stay in your system?
Valerie
1:01 pm February 4th, 2014

I take 30 mg morphine sulfate ER. i want to donate plasma today. Can I donate or will I be turned down because of the morphine

11:31 am February 5th, 2014

Hello Valerie. Thanks for your question. No, I don’t think that you can donate blood or plasma when you are taking opiates like morphine. Once, they refused my blood because I was on antibiotics. But you can always call your local blood bank or medical clinic for confirmation and to avoid an unnecessary trip.