Morphine overdose: How much amount of morphine to OD?

Morphine doses over 200 mg are considered to be lethal to an average person. However, opiate sensitive people can react to doses of 60 mg. We review the signs of a morphine overdose and treatment protocols here.

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The signs, prognosis and recommended treatment for morphine overdoses have been well documented. However, morphine has a wide range of uses in medicine, for treating moderate to severe pain in both acute and chronic pain. Available in several forms, morphine is also administered in many ways.  More on morphine here, with a section for you to post your questions at the end.

How does unintentional morphine overdose happen?

Morphine is an opiate analgesic drug used to treat severe pain. Isolated from the seedpod of the poppy plant, morphine is a schedule II controlled substance and is available in a variety of prescription forms. Morphine has a short half-life of 1.5 – 7 hours which doesn’t make it less dangerous compared to other drugs. So how does unintentional overdose occur?

When taken other than prescribed, or to get high…you increase chances of OD-ing on morphine. Additionally, when you take morphine with other narcotic pain medications, antidepressants, sedatives, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, or mix morphine with alcohol, the combined effects of concurrent drug use can slow down breathing or heart rate. (How long does morphine stay in the blood or urine?)However, the most common cases of morphine overdose occur when morphine is abused, pills are crushed and injected, people with an increased tolerance to morphine increase doses for euphoric effect.

Morphine overdose – How much is too much?

One of the common mistakes when it comes to morphine dosage is when solutions are administered, and milligrams and/or milliliters are confused. As with other drugs, prescribed doses of morphine should be respectively administered and doctor’s recommendations ALWAYS followed. Doses of morphine over 200 mg are considered to be lethal to average person, meaning an opioid-naive person. However, in cases with hypersensitivity, even 60 mg morphine doses can cause permanent impairment, coma, or even death. In case of drug dependence, long term use, or increased levels of high tolerance for opiates, up to 3 grams of morphine per day can be tolerated.

Morphine overdose complications

Morphine overdose is a condition of intoxication by a certain drug, a point at which neither the body nor the brain functions normally. Signs of overdose by morphine may appear to be regular effects of the drug, but can manifest into something more serious quite quickly.  Furthermore, when abused and combined with alcohol, morphine’s effects are increased and intensified. Here is a list of the most common signs of overdose with morphine:

  • clammy skin
  • cold skin
  • coma
  • convulsions
  • pinpoint pupils
  • extreme somnolence (sleepiness)
  • reduced blood pressure
  • severe respiratory depression
  • slow and shallow breathing
  • stupor
  • vomiting

Morphine overdose prognosis

Morphine overdose requires emergency measures to reverse the effects of morphine overdose in the body. There are several direct approaches, such as the use of of activated charcoal for those who have ingested large amounts of morphine. Morphine overdose treatment also includes the administration of naloxone. However, emergency actions need to be taken only when recommended by a doctor or physician. Overdose effects from a morphine OD may last up to 2 weeks during which period users are sharing symptoms such as hair falling out, swollen tongue, back spasms, pain in the ribs area and limited extremities movement.

Morphine overdose death rate

Opioid analgesics are involved in over 40% of drug overdose deaths in USA per year. This numbers includes OD cases for morphine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. However, statistics can vary due to various reasons. One of them is the fact that morphine is a metabolite of heroin, so in fatalities is hard to say whether morphine may have been a metabolite to heroin. One of the main causes for morphine death is pulmonary edema, during which the lungs fill up with fluid passed from the bloodstream through the alveoli in the lungs.


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Morphine overdose amount questions

Remember that the sooner you seek help to quit morphine abuse and addiction, whether it is for yourself or a loved one, the greater the chances for long-term recovery success. You can learn more about morphine (opium) addiction, available treatment programs, what the rehab process entails, and how to change your life for the better starting TODAY in this Opium Addiction Treatment Programs and Help guide.

Do you still have questions about morphine overdose?  In case you have any further questions about overdose with morphine, here is your chance to get your answer. Please post your question or share your personal morphine overdose experience in the comments section bellow. We will make sure to provide you with a personal answer as soon as possible.

Reference Sources: National Highway and Traffic Safety Agency/Morphine
US Department of Health and Services/Safety Alerts
Center for Disease Control and Prevention/Opioid Overdose
Erowid/Effects of a non-fatal overdose
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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