Friday May 25th 2018

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7
1-888-882-1456
PRIVACY
GUARANTEED

How to stop taking morphine?

Safe ways to quit morphine

Some people use morphine not only for managing their pain, but to feel better or to get high. When abused, morphine can be a very difficult habit to quit…yet not impossible.

Are you taking morphine continuously? Wondering how to stop? Here, we review some safe ways to quit using morphine. We also discuss the consequences of quitting morphine abruptly. Continue reading to learn more about help for morphine problems. At the end, we invite you to post your questions or your personal experiences about getting off morphine. We try to respond to all real life situations with a personal reply.

Can I just stop taking morphine?

NO. It is not recommended that anyone go cold turkey off of morphine. Morphine detox is most successful when performed under doctor’s care. Further, medically supervised morphine detox can prevent dangerous withdrawal effects.

People who usually stop taking morphine on their own experience intense and unpleasant symptoms, which can discourage them from staying off morphine for good. Individuals who quit using morphine without the help of a doctor have a higher risk of relapse and failure to reach long-term sobriety. Thus, it’s suggested that you seek help from a medical detox clinic when you decide to stop taking morphine… for safety AND efficacy.

What happens when you stop taking morphine?

When you stop taking morphine after a period of regular, daily dosing … expect to go through withdrawal. Withdrawal happens as a direct result of physical dependence on a drug. So, how did your body adapt to morphine so much that it rebels when you want to quit?

When you take a psychoactive drug like morphine over a period of weeks or months, your body seeks a way to live with it. It adapts chemically so that it can survive. This is why some functions of the brain and body “slow down” while others “speed up”. It’s the body’s way of seeking balance; it wants to compensate for the chemical reactions that are doping up the brain. Remove the drug…and those same processes (“slow down” and “speed up”) require time to balance out.

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7
1-888-882-1456
PRIVACY GUARANTEED

Physical dependence on morphine manifests as a set of symptoms when you quit. They are actually the “sped up” functions that morphine had been balancing out. Most people face a range of cognitive and physical symptoms. Without morphine, you can expect to experience some commonly reported symptoms:

  • anxiety, insomnia, or restlessness
  • nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps
  • increased heart rate and breathing rate

Stages of coming off morphine

What are morphine withdrawal symptoms? Morphine withdrawal has several stages. Each stage is characterized by different symptoms, or various levels of intensity of the symptoms.

The FIRST STAGE – The first stage of morphine withdrawal occurs 6 – 14 hours after last dose. During this stage individuals usually experience:

  • anxiety
  • drug cravings
  • irritability
  • mild to moderate depression
  • sweating

The SECOND STAGE – Occurs 14 – 18 hours after last dose and is typically accompanied by:

  • crying
  • dissatisfaction
  • headaches
  • heavy perspiration
  • runny nose
  • yawning

The THIRD STAGE – It is expected within 16 – 24 hours after the last dose administration and is followed by:

  • aching bones and muscles
  • dilated pupils
  • hot and cold flashes
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle twitches

The FORTH STAGE – It occurs about 24 – 36 hours after the last taken dose of morphine and includes:

  • elevation of blood pressure
  • increase respiration and tidal volume
  • insomnia
  • loose stool
  • moderate elevation in body temperature
  • nausea
  • restlessness
  • severe cramping
  • tachycardia

The FIFTH STAGE – This stage lasts 36 – 72 hours since the last dose of morphine. The symptoms that you can expect during the fifth stage include:

  • frequent liquid diarrhea
  • increased white cell count and other blood changes
  • vomiting
  • weight loss of 2 to 5 kg per 24 hours

The SIXTH STAGE – This stage of withdrawal manifests after you have successfully completed the previous five stages. During this period, you’ll start to deal with psychological symptoms of his/her addiction. This stage also includes the following symptoms:

  • colitis or other GI afflictions related to motility
  • hypertension
  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • normalization of food appetite
  • problems with weight control
  • stabilization in bowel function

Side effects of stopping morphine

Withdrawal symptoms usually occur when a dependent user stops taking morphine completely or lower dose(s) significantly. Common morphine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • chills
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • moodiness
  • nausea
  • restlessness
  • soreness
  • sweating
  • vomiting
  • watery eyes

Stop taking morphine suddenly

Due to the drug’s highly addictive properties, suddenly stopping morphine might cause severe withdrawal symptoms and provoke relapse. An alternative for sudden discontinuation is a slow morphine taper. Talk to a medical professional, or look for a morphine addiction treatment facility for supervision. This will increase your chances of successful recovery.

Stop taking morphine cold turkey

Going cold turkey off morphine might be very dangerous for people who have lung and heart problems. Another danger of stopping morphine abruptly is the intense experience of acute withdrawal symptoms.

Instead, doctors suggest following a tapering schedule and taking other medications to assist in the process. Your tapering schedule should be created along with your doctor, and with based on your health state, duration of morphine use, and your dose of morphine. Usually individuals require about 2 to 3 weeks to successfully taper doses down. Some general guidelines are:

  • 10% reduction in doses a day
  • 20% reduction in doses every 3-5 days
  • 25% reduction in doses per week
  • Avoiding more than 50% reduction off the daily dose at any given interval

How do I stop taking morphine?

Stopping morphine does not include drug detox only. It also means that you will have to go through physical, psychological and emotional rehabilitation. A 100% devotion to treatment can help you to successfully treat and recover from morphine addiction.

Structured morphine addiction rehabs provide doctors, counselors and therapists who assist the recovery process. During treatment, people have the chance to work on different aspects of your morphine addiction, which can be physical, mental, and even spiritual in nature. Individuals who go through a structured rehab program are invited to discover personal root causes for addictive behavior, work to resolve them, and reach sobriety over the long-term.

How to stop taking morphine safely

The safest way to stop morphine is to seek morphine detox under medical supervision. A medical detox clinic can offer 24-7 medical supervision. Detox clinic staff help you by advising you, prescribing medications, assist your detox and withdrawal, and work with you resolving your psychological and behavioral issues. There is also an element of emotional support you can get at a detox center that may not be available at home.

If possible, round up the motivation and support coming from your family and friends. Long term recovery from a morphine problem requires help from multiple sources. And, stay committed to your recovery after leaving rehab by joining a support group, such as 12-step support groups. Some people stay in psychotherapy for a year or two after they quit using.

Stopping morphine questions

Still have questions about how you can quit morphine successfully and in a safe manner? We invite you to post them in the designated section below. We try to reply personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries. In case we don’t know the answer to your question, we will refer you to someone who can help.

Reference sources: CPSO: When and how to taper opioids
NCBI: Neurotransmitter mechanisms of morphine withdrawal syndrome
NCBI: Immune cell activity during the initial stages of withdrawal from chronic exposure to cocaine or morphine

Photo credit: TheGabeC

Leave a Reply

14 Responses to “How to stop taking morphine?
Sandra
8:23 pm May 25th, 2017

My mum has been dependent on morphine tablets to control back pain for years they no longer help with the pain and is looking for an alternative…her doctor has given no guidance in how to come off them, only to say stop taking them and take. Paracetamol….. Can anyone give guidance please. Thanks

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:06 pm May 29th, 2017

Hi Sandra. Professional claim that the best and safest way to quit opioid painkillers is by slowly tapering the daily dosage. The doctor should have made your mother an individualized tapering schedule. I suggest that she consults with another doctor. Moreover, download our free e-book ‘How To Quit Opioid Painkillers’ to learn more about the whole process of ending painkillers, here: http://addictionblog.org/ebooks/how-to-quit-opioid-painkillers/

Joyce
11:10 pm September 22nd, 2017

I have been on mst continus 30mg for pain control.for the past 6 years, and Ive been tapering it down over the past 6 weeks as I’m on another drug called tapentadol. I’m down now to 5mg twice .a day but I’m scared of giving up this last 5mg as I don’t know how bad the withdrawal will be or for how long. I’ve suffered withdrawal all the way through the cutting down, but I know if I go an hour over due my dose I’m feeling faint. I’m in a lot of pain, My Dr says he can put up the tapentadol to the maximum dose when I stopped the 5mg .but I have a job as well and I don’t know how I will cope.please can you give me any advice or let me know what to expect?

Joyce

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:36 pm November 21st, 2017

Hi Joyce. You may consider entering a rehab program. I suggest that you call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch our trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best program for you. Also, you may download our free e-book ‘The Definitive Guide To Withdrawal’ to get a better understanding about the whole process: http://addictionblog.org/ebooks/the-definitive-guide-to-drug-withdrawal/

Lee
4:58 pm January 17th, 2018

I have been on time release morphine for pain control for 10 years as am allergic to most other pain meds. I we pressed a desire to get off this drug because most of my pain is due to nerve damage and Dr said morphine really doesn’t do much for that pain. My Dr has reduced me over time from 45mg time release to 30mg. When I asked how to go down in dose again, he told me to take the 30mg dose every other day for 2 weeks then just stop it entirely. Have tryed his method, but am in withdrawal every other day. Another Dr told me to stretch the amount of time between doses a few hrs every time. Have been doing that. Withdrawal less severe. Am up to two days between doses. However try ed to go to 3 days but blood pressure and headache getting severe, what do I do now?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:43 pm January 25th, 2018

Hi Lee. Talk with your doctor to help you adjust the daily morphine doses. Also, you may download our free e-book ‘How To Quit Opioid Painkillers’ to learn more about the whole process and possible treatment options: http://addictionblog.org/ebooks/how-to-quit-opioid-painkillers/

Justine
11:17 pm February 3rd, 2018

Hi my mum has went through 6 chemo session and recently had pet scan while waiting on results her GP prescribed her 20mg or morphine sulfate twice a day.. after 2nd day she because confused , unable to hold conversation and unable to walk, the doctor told her to stop after 4days of morphine in which her symptoms got worse she was admitted to hospital 5days ago and has since became in incontinent, not able to recognise some of her family surely this can’t be the morphine can anybody help
As doctors aren’t much help

Lee
9:40 pm February 8th, 2018

dr has now cut me down to 20 mg, but still the time release. wants me to take for 7 days then try to stretch the time by 4-5 hr intervals. for a few days, and increase the time by 1-2 hrs every 2 days. however, he also told me that the time release type is much harder to work with. an has had other patients who find it impossible to stop this way. He is a pain dr and I am not sure if he is telling me the right thing?? do you have any information on stopping time release morphine??

Lee
9:42 pm February 8th, 2018

Forgot to mention that I tried to download the ebook you suggested and it came back that there is NO ebook.??

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:55 pm February 9th, 2018

Hi Lee. I’m sorry with the problems. I’ve send you the pdf file of the e-book via e-mail.

Cathy
12:05 am February 26th, 2018

I have been prescribed extended release morphine tablets 30 mg 2 x a day and a 15mg immediate release 1 x day . I have been taking this via a pain management doctor for a couple years for fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Prior to that I was taking hydrocodone every 5-8 hrs daily for a few years, but stopped helping with pain and was not able to function well on them. When I started taking the morphine it helped with the pain and I could function very well. Doctor then added 300mg Gabapentin 2x daily to help with pain, then upped dosage to 3 x daily a few week ago. I had some constipation problems and was taking otc stool softeners. With the change of Gabapentin to 3 x daily I started having severe constipation not going but every 7 days with lots of discomfort and straining and pulling stool out. Doctor prescribed Movantik 30 and have taken for 2 days making me feel sick, weak. I really feel that I need to stop the morphine before it causes me further problems. I am 58 and truly want to have quality of life without narcotics. Scared and worried. What do I do to get my life back?

Randy
6:57 pm February 26th, 2018

I had a lumbar discectomy in 2004. It was not successful and I have been on prescription pain medicines since that time. I have always been under the supervision of a pain clinic. I am by nature a rule follower and as such I have followed my prescriptions, never missing a pill count. Not ever. My current regimen is 2 morphine sulfate, 30mg. 2 times/day. Oxycodone 10/325 mg. 2 times/day. I have just been reduced to this level from 3 morphine sulfate 30mg. per day. After 2 weeks of being on the edge of withdrawal, I am adjusting fairly well. I am determined to taper off opiates completely, trying to revert to managing the lower back and sciatic pain with NSAIDS. Do you have any suggestions as to a reduction timeline? I am going to involve my doctor and the pain clinic in my efforts, however I’m interested in a second opinion.

Angel
10:15 pm March 9th, 2018

Following 2 surgeries for knee replacement, I have been on 15 mg of Morphine which I take at 11 PM and 11 AM daily over the past 2 months. Now my doctor is telling me that they will not be refilling it and that I am to get off of it. I tried not taking the 11 PM dose, but was awake every half hour in pain, and tried supplementing it with Tylenol products. They suggested that I should have quit the 11 AM dose instead so I tried that, but I was in pain all day. I am also on hydrocodone (5 mg) which I have reduced to 2 tablets every 6 hours. Their only suggestion is to cut out the 11 AM dose and supplement with more oxycodone if needed, but at the same time they have been only prescribing enough oxycodone for 5 days at a time. Surely there must be a more logical way of going off of the Morphine. Please tell me what it is if you can. Thanks.

Rick
11:55 pm March 15th, 2018

I’ve been on pain pills for close to 4 years due to a back injury. I have been to multiple Dr’s just to be told that there isn’t anything they can do! I have had 3 spinal fusion surgeries the last one in 2000 and I was good for 11 years and then moved to AZ where I was hit on 3 separate occasions by careless drivers and my pain was back in full swing. The Dr put me on methadone 10mg and morphine 30mgs that I take both pills 4 times a day since I’ve been on them I haven’t been the same person the med have totally rotted my teeth due to the dry mouth and has affected my family in a very negative way. I have alway just taken my prescribed dosage but I’m tired of what they are doing so I am quiting kinda cold turkey. I did go from taking them 4 time a day down to twice a day. I wouldn’t ever recommend taking these kind of pills unless your on your death bed! They have done more damage than good. Sorry so long and I’m hoping I get through this ok.

Leave a Reply

Trusted Helpline
Help Available 24/7
1-888-882-1456
PRIVACY
GUARANTEED