MS Contin

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Morphine
Drug Class: MS Contin > Morphine > Opiate > Opioids > Opioid Agonist > Analgesic.


MS Contin is a narcotic pain reliever, used to control moderate to severe pain, usually from cancer or severe trauma. An extended-release formula is available to relieve pain on a round-the-clock basis. The strongest doses of MS Contin, the brand name for morphine sulfate controlled-release tablets, are for patients already tolerant to other types of opioids. A patient is considered tolerant to opioids after using other opiates, like codeine, for one continuous week. Learn More About MS Contin Uses


MS Contin tablets, to be taken orally, come in 15 mg 30 mg 60 mg 100 mg and 200 mg strengths. Physicians will prescribe the 100 mg and 200 mg strengths only to opioid-tolerant patients. The typical MS Contin prescription calls for 15 mg to 60 mg of MS Contin by mouth every eight to twelve hours.

Do not crush, chew or break a controlled-release medication. An extended-release tablet is meant to dissolve slowly, gradually releasing medicine into your system. Crushing or breaking an extended-release tablet may cause too much of the medication to be released into your body, potentially causing life-threatening overdose.

MS Contin extended release tablets are prescribed to be taken on a regular schedule to control pain around the clock, not on an as-needed basis. If you miss a regularly scheduled dose, take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is nearly time to take a scheduled dose and you can tolerate the pain, skip the missed dose and resume your normal schedule. Never take two doses in an effort to make up for a missed dose; doing so may result in overdose.

Read More About MS Contin Administration and Dosage


MS Contin works by releasing morphine gradually and evenly throughout the day. Morphine binds with pain receptors in your body to change the way your brain perceives pain. Along with pain relief, morphine suppresses cough, makes you drowsy and can make you experience unusual pleasant or unpleasant feelings. More About How MS Contin Works


Tell your doctor if you are allergic to MS Contin or any other narcotic medication, such as codeine, Darvocet, Lortab or methadone. Seek immediate medical assistance if you notice signs of an allergic reaction after taking MS Contin.

Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Hives.
  • Difficulty Breathing.
  • Swelling of your Face, Lips, Tongue or Throat.

MS Contin can make you drowsy and impair your ability to make sound decisions. Do not operate a car or heavy machinery until you know how your body reacts to MS Contin. Avoid engaging in risky behavior that requires clear thinking and fast reflexes while taking MS Contin.

Do not consume alcohol while taking MS Contin. Drinking alcohol may cause dangerous side effects or even death. Read the labels of all food and drugs to be sure they do not contain alcohol.

This drug can be habit-forming, especially if you take large doses or are MS Contin for long periods of time. You may become tolerant to MS Contin, which means your prescribed dose no longer controls your pain. Do not take larger doses or take MS Contin more frequently in an effort to relieve pain. Notify your doctor right away if your MS Contin prescription seems to stop working as well to relieve your pain.

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You should not use MS Contin if you are having an asthma attack. MS Contin, along with all other opiates, causes respiratory depression that can worsen breathing. Tell your doctor if you have a history of asthma, COPD, sleep apnea or other respiratory conditions before taking MS Contin.

Do not take MS Contin if you have ever had the type of bowel obstruction known as paralytic ileus. Taking MS Contin affects intestinal mobility, or the way stool moves through your bowels.

Tell your doctor about your medical history, including:

  • Chronic Respiratory Illnesses.
  • Liver or Kidney Disease.
  • Underactive Thyroid.
  • Curvature of the Spine.
  • Neurological Disorders like Brain Tumors or Seizures.
  • Head Injuries.
  • Low Blood Pressure.
  • An Enlarged Prostate.
  • Adrenal Gland Disorders, such as Addison's.
  • Mental Illness.
  • Drug or Alcohol Addiction.

MS Contin may be harmful to your unborn child. Do not take MS Contin while you are pregnant or if you plan on becoming pregnant while on treatment. Your baby may be experience withdrawal symptoms after delivery. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant while taking MS Contin. MS Contin passes into breast milk; do not breastfeed your baby while taking MS Contin.

Older patients may be more sensitive to the effects of MS Contin. Physicians should start senior citizens on low doses of MS Contin under supervision until it is determined how the elderly patient will react to the opiate.

Do not stop taking MS Contin suddenly. Stopping MS Contin use abruptly may cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Try to wean yourself from MS Contin by taking smaller doses further apart. If you cannot comfortably wean yourself from MS Contin, consult with your doctor or qualified in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation center about how to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

More Warnings About Using MS Contin

Drug Interactions

Some drugs may cause unpredictable or unfavorable interactions with MS Contin. Give your doctor a list of the medications you take, include prescriptions, over-the-counter and herbal remedies. Do not start any new medicines while taking MS Contin without first consulting your doctor.

Do not take MS Contin with other narcotic pain relievers, sedatives, muscle relaxers, tranquilizers or other medications that slow down your breathing. Avoid medicines that make you sleepy while on MS Contin. These drugs may cause serious or even life-threatening side effects when taken with MS Contin.

Do not take MS Contin if you have taken an MAO inhibitor within the previous two weeks. Taking MS Contin before the MAO inhibitor has cleared your system can cause severe side effects.

Tell your doctor if you are taking pentazocine or nalbuphine, otherwise known as Talwin and Nubain, before taking MS Contin. Your doctor may choose a different pain medicine or adjust the dosage of MS Contin if you are taking those drugs, or if you are taking butorphanol (Stadol) or buprenorphine (Buprenex, Subutex). Your doctor may adjust your MS Contin dose during special tests or treatments.

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Side effects

You may experience side effects while taking MS Contin. These side effects range from common, less serious effects to potentially deadly side effects. Seek immediate medical assistance if you experience these serious side effects:

  • Shallow Breathing.
  • Slow Heartbeat.
  • Seizure.
  • Cold, Clammy Skin.
  • Confusion.
  • Severe Weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Light-Headedness, Fainting.

Less serious MS Contin side effects are more likely to occur. Contact your doctor if these common side effects become acute or if they don't go away on their own. Less serious side effects include:

  • Digestive Disorders, like Constipation, Nausea, Vomiting, Stomach Pain, Diarrhea, Loss of Appetite.
  • Dizziness, Headache.
  • Anxiety, Memory Problems.
  • Insomnia.

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If you suspect that you or someone you know has taken an overdose of MS Contin, seek emergency assistance immediately; this is a potentially life-threatening situation. Contact your local poison control center by calling 1-800-222-1222 or go to the emergency room right away. Bring all medication bottles with you. While at the hospital, you can expect emergency, life-saving treatments including activated charcoal, artificial respiration, fluids, laxatives, medicine to lower MS Contin levels in the blood, medicine to reverse the effect of the MS Contin. The staff may insert a tube through your nose or mouth to wash out your stomach. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Breathing that Stops.
  • Very Small, Pinpoint Pupils.
  • Extreme Drowsiness or Confusion.
  • Cold, Clammy Skin.
  • Weak Pulse.
  • Shallow Breathing.
  • Fainting.

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MS Contin is a Schedule II drug, which means it carries a significant risk for abuse and physical as well as psychological dependence. Pharmaceutical companies legally manufacture MS Contin for licit use as a pain reliever but abusers obtain MS Contin through forged prescriptions, bogus prescription call-ins to pharmacies, "doctor shopping" as well as theft from pharmacies and friends. Read More About MS Contin Abuse


You may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking MS Contin, especially if you have been using high doses or taking the opioid for a long period of time. Symptoms vary in intensity. Withdrawal is a normal, predictable, physical sign of dependency, not necessarily a sign of willful abuse. Withdrawal symptoms may prevent you from quitting MS Contin without medical assistance.

  • Withdrawal symptoms include:
  • Muscle and Bone Pain.
  • Intense Anxiety.
  • Nausea.
  • Insomnia.
  • Fever.
  • Flu-like Symptoms.
  • Tremors.
  • Cramps.


Dependency and addiction to MS Contin is often difficult to overcome on your own, especially if you have been taking large doses or using these opioids for a long time. Fortunately, there are in-patient and out-patient treatment facilities where trained professionals can minimize withdrawal symptoms, detoxify your body and give you the tools you need to live drug-free. Detoxification, rehabilitation and counseling are effective therapies to treat addiction to MS Contin and other opiates.

Learn More About MS Contin Detoxification Programs


Keep MS Contin away from excessive heat, moisture and light. Do not keep this drug in your bathroom or automobile. Store MS Contin away from children, pets and adults who might accidently or purposefully consume the drug. Never share MS Contin with others, especially with people who have a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Keep track of your medication, taking note of any missing doses.