Ms Contin Side Effects

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Morphine

MS Contin, like all medicine, has the potential to cause side effects. Many people experience no, or minor, adverse reactions while taking MS Contin. Most side effects are not serious and decrease or disappear after using MS Contin as directed for a few days. Some side effects are serious and require the attention of a doctor.

The side effects associated with MS Contin are typical of any opioids. The most serious side effect is respiratory problems potentially leading to stopped breathing, circulatory depression, dangerously low blood pressure and shock. Physicians should expect side effects and treat patients accordingly.

All opioids, including MS Contin, put patients at risk for the serious breathing condition, respiratory depression. During respiratory depression, the lungs do not adequately exchange oxygen, carbon dioxide and other blood gases. Symptoms of respiratory depression include slow or shallow breathing, unusual breathing patterns, gasping or wheezing, and a bluish tint around the eyes, mouth and fingertips.

Most Frequently Observed

The most frequently observed MS Contin side effects are constipation, lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, sweating, sadness and euphoria. Consumers who are able to walk on their own, or who were not in significant pain when they took MS Contin, are more likely to experience these side effects than are those confined to a bed or wheelchair. Lying down usually eases these side effects.

Abuse, Dependence and Withdrawal

Potential for abuse, physical dependence or addiction are possible side effects associated with MS Contin. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, classifies substances according to the potential for abuse. The DEA has classified MS Contin as a Schedule II narcotic, which means it carries a high potential for abuse and mental or physical dependence.

Anyone who uses MS Contin for a long time can become dependent upon it. An opioid-dependent person will feel withdrawal symptoms if the level of opioids suddenly drops. This drop can be caused by a missed dose, insufficient dose or because the person used a medicine that reduces opioid levels. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting

Allergic Reaction

Anyone can have an allergic reaction to MS Contin or any other medication. An allergic reaction is a serious medical emergency that requires prompt care. Stop taking MS Contin and seek medical assistance right away if you think you are suffering an allergic reaction. Take your bottle of MS Contin and all your medications with you to help the emergency department doctor understand which medication caused the reactions.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Tightness in the Chest
  • Swelling of the Mouth, Face, Lips or Tongue


Rarely, patients have reported hypersensitivity to MS Contin. Hypersensitivity may lead to shock or anaphylaxis, which is a severe form of allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis usually occurs within moments of exposure but may happen as long as a half an hour or longer after you take MS Contin. Seek help immediately if you think you or someone you know is suffering anaphylaxis.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include hives along with itching, flushed or pale skin. You may feel a sensation of warmth. You might also feel like you have a lump in your throat, or that your throat is closing. It may feel like your tongue is swelling up, which can lead to wheezing and trouble breathing. You might have a weak and rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting, dizziness or fainting. You may have a terrible feeling of impending doom.

Non-Serious Side Effects

The most common side effects associated with this medication are not serious and disappear after taking this drug for a few days. Continue taking MS Contin but contact the prescribing physician if the following side effects become intolerable or if they do not disappear with continued use:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Restless Mood
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Serious Side Effects

Some side effects are serious, requiring immediate medical attention. Contact a doctor if you experience serious adverse reactions to MS Contin, including:

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Fainting
  • Fast, Slow or Irregular Heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Mental or Mood Changes, especially Agitation or Exaggerated Sense of Well-Being
  • Seizures
  • Severe or Persistent Constipation or Stomach Pain
  • Severe or Persistent Dizziness, Drowsiness or Headache
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Slow or Shallow Breathing
  • Sudden Chest Pain
  • Swelling of the Hands, Ankles or Feet
  • Trouble Urinating
  • Unusual Bruising or Bleeding
  • Unusual Tiredness or Weakness
  • Vision Changes, especially Blurred Vision

By Body System

The morphine sulfate in MS Contin works primarily in the central nervous system, or CNS, to relieve pain and cause euphoria, so many of the side effects associated with MS Contin involve the nervous system. However, MS Contin also causes side effects in other body systems.

Nervous system

MS Contin works directly on the part of the brain responsible for breathing, increasing the risk for respiratory depression. Doctors treat respiratory depression with naloxone to lower MS Contin levels.

MS Contin frequently causes other CNS side effects, including drowsiness and sedation. Less frequently, MS Contin consumers have reported delirium, seizures, tremors, dizziness, muscle twitches or muscle rigidity, malaise and confusion. Other CNS side effects include weakness, headache, agitation and changes in mood such as nervousness or depression. You may rarely have unusual dreams, a feeling as if you are floating, or suffer hallucinations or visual disturbances while taking MS Contin. Insomnia and disorientation are also rarely associated with MS Contin use.

Nurses administering MS Contin intravenously should monitor patients for CNS side effects. Doctors should consider the patient's condition and tolerance for MS Contin before prescribing further doses.

Some patients may experience muscle twitches spasms, especially if they are suffering from kidney disease. Patients who have taken high doses of MS Contin have reported increased sensitivity to pain.

Patients receiving continuous MS Contin infusions have suffered inflammatory masses including some that have resulted in neurological disorders including paralysis.


MS Contin consumers have frequently reported respiratory side effects including respiratory depression. Patients with underlying pulmonary disease have reported bronchospasms, a breathing problem normally associated with asthma.


MS Contin use may cause gastrointestinal side effects including nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, constipation, dry mouth and worsened heartburn. MS Contin use may also cause intestinal obstruction and increased pressure in the biliary tract, affecting the liver, gall bladder and ducts between the two. Morphine may actually worsen symptoms associated with certain types of biliary problems.

Morphine may cause spasms in the first part of the small intestine or slow down the passage of food from your stomach to your small intestine.

Less frequently observed gastrointestinal side effects associated with MS Contin use include dry mouth, biliary tract spasm and laryngospasm, a frightening spasm of a throat muscle that makes it difficult to breathe or speak. Rarely, patients have reported anorexia, diarrhea, cramps or an altered sense of taste after using MS Contin.


Anyone who takes MS Contin for a long time can develop opioid-dependence and experience withdrawal symptoms. Patients report agitation, restlessness, anxiety, goose bumps, insomnia, convulsions, tremor, abdominal cramps, blurred vision, vomiting and sweating associated with withdrawal.


Taking MS Contin may cause dangerously low blood pressure in those suffering from a heart attack.

Rarely, MS Contin causes cardiovascular side effects such as flushing of the face, chills or fast, slow or irregular heartbeat. You may experience faintness, syncope or blood pressure problems after using MS Contin.


MS Contin side effects can include psychiatric disturbances such as fearfulness, agitation, thinking disturbances, paranoia, psychosis and hallucinations.


Patients have rarely reported acute urinary retention after using MS Contin. Patients receiving morphine through an epidural or The risk of acute urinary retention is very high when patients receive morphine by epidural or injection into the spinal canal. These patients are at higher risk for developing urinary tract infections, especially if the patient requires some procedure involving the urinary tract, such as catheterization.

Rarely, patients report urine retention or hesitance, amenorrhea, reduced libido and/or potency after taking MS Contin.


Rarely, MS Contin use can interfere with the way your body makes platelets, leaving you at risk for developing bleeding problems.


Women have reported endocrine side effects after using MS Contin, such as menstrual irregularities and missed periods. Men have experienced a decrease in potency after using MS Contin, while both men and women have reported decreased libido.


Individuals who take chronic, high doses of MS Contin may suffer musculoskeletal side effects including involuntary muscle hyperactivity.


You may have skin problems after taking MS Contin, such as mild sweating, flushing and itching. These dermatologic MS Contin side effects are common, while rash, swelling and excessive sweating are rare.


MS Contin may affect your eyes, including causing some types of "pink eye." Ocular side effects include extremely dry eyes and inflammation of the tissue lining the eyes. Some people have experienced vision problems and pinpoint pupils after taking MS Contin. A patient's pupils may constrict up to 25 percent after receiving IV morphine. associated with lid urticaria.


Some consumers report a sense of warmth after taking MS Contin.


MS Contin use may raise liver enzymes.