Kadian is an extended-release form of morphine sulfate or simply morphine. The drug belongs to the medication classification called an opioid analgesic. This means the medicine is derived from opiates, which come from the opiate poppy plant. It is prescribed as a pain-relieving medication, specifically for those who may be experiencing long-term pain.

Street names for Kadian and morphine include M, Number 13, Red Cross, Vitamin M, Lady M, cube, cube juice, morph, Miss Emma, white hop, Uncle Morphy, big M, Murphy, gold dust, monkey dust, needle candy, Mister Blue, Dreamer and God’s drug.

Kadian is a Schedule II drug by U.S. Food & Drug Administration classifications. A Schedule II drug is one that has a medical purpose, but has a high potential for addiction. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved Kadian for use in July 1996. The company has since expanded the number of strengths the drug is approved for.

Intended Usage

Doctors prescribe this medication for use in persons who have previously been taking high doses of opioids, such as short-acting morphine every four hours. This medication is not intended for people who need occasional pain relief from time to time. Instead, the medication is for moderate to severe pain relief. An example of a condition a doctor may prescribe Kadian for is for those with cancer who may experience higher pain levels.

This drug is available by prescription in 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80, 100 or 200-milligram strengths. The manufacturer recently discontinued the 70, 130 and 150 mg-strengths. The 100 and 200 mg capsules are only prescribed to those who already take a high-strength dose of medication on a daily basis. Each milligram dosage comes in a different-color capsule with the milligram dosage and “KADIAN” on the label. Doctors will typically prescribe the medicine to be taken once to twice per day.

Side Effects

Potential side effects of Kadian include:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

More serious side effects can include:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Trouble urinating

It should not be taken with alcohol as this can increase the risk for serious side effects.

Abuse and Addiction

As a schedule II drug, Kadian has a high potential for abuse and can easily become addictive after only several times taking it. People who buy Kadian on the street are especially at risk for adverse health effects if they are not used to taking extremely high dosages of pain medication. When taken, the medication can cause severe respiratory depression (slow breathing), respiratory arrest (stopping breathing), coma and even death.

People abuse Kadian by taking it orally, or smoking, injecting or sniffing the drug.

Signs a person may be abusing this drug include:

  • anxiety
  • decreased appetite
  • euphoria
  • irritability
  • paranoia
  • psychosis
  • reduced motivations

Withdrawal Symptoms

Due to the fact that it is a high-dose opiate, stopping taking the medication can cause withdrawal reactions. This is especially true if you have been taking Kadian for some time. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Watering eyes

Treatment for Addiction

If a person has a Kadian addiction, a drug treatment center may recommend slowly tapering the medication’s dosage as a means to encourage a slow withdrawal from the body. Additionally, medications are available to help reduce drug cravings for it. These include methadone and Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. These medications can reduce cravings for Kadian without creating the “euphoria” that taking Kadian can give a person.

For more information on drug abuse or if you think a loved one is suffering from Kadian abuse, please call our drug treatment center at 877-855-3470.