Morphine Tolerance and Abuse

Morphine is effective at reducing sensations of pain, but this pain relief is accompanied by tolerance. Tolerance means that the dosage must be increased over time to maintain the desired effect. With increased doses of morphine other side effects become more prominent. These side effects may include the following:

  • Breathing problems
  • Lack of energy
  • Constipation
  • An increased potential for addiction
  • An increased potential for overdose

Through detox tolerance can be reversed, and the negative side effects associated with morphine can end. Tolerance is usually not permanent, and it is related to personal physical factors and the frequency and amount of use.

Preventing Morphine Tolerance

Current research is addressing potential ways to avoid tolerance. Peroxynitrite is a drug that may inhibit aspects of the chemical synthesis that occurs when morphine is taken. This is good news in that it may help limit tolerance in the future. Preventing morphine tolerance may become possible, and users may be able to manage pain without the troubling effects of tolerance. Until safer alternatives are found, the management of morphine tolerance is possible with close supervision from medical experts. With illegal and recreational use of the drug it is likely that the increase in tolerance will lead to addiction and possibly to overdose. If you are using morphine, you are most likely experiencing an increase in tolerance. If you have medical reason for using morphine, seek medical attention and be clear about your situation with your doctor. You may need to manage pain through alternate means. If you are illegally using morphine, you should immediately seek abuse or addiction counseling and advice.

What to Do If You Are Experiencing Morphine Tolerance

If you postpone getting help, your tolerance will increase. You will be at greater risk for addiction, negative side effects, overdose and even death. Get information, advice and support by calling our toll-free helpline. We are here to talk 24 hours a day, and all calls are confidential. You can find out more about how to end drug use and avoid the tolerance trap.