MS Contin is an opioid agonist narcotic used for the management of severe chronic pain when other pain treatments prove inadequate. This opioid agonist blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain by binding to opioid receptors of the central nervous system. MS Contin is the time-released name brand for morphine sulphate and it is classified as a Schedule II substance, indicating that it is a powerful medication with addictive qualities. MS Contin is an around-the-clock pain reliever and should not be used to treat pain on an as-needed basis. Morphine is a naturally occurring substance in the opium poppy plant and its non-medical use has become popular, especially among teenagers, because it produces feelings of pleasure, happiness and euphoria, and helps them escape from reality. Misuse or abuse of MS Contin can cause addiction, overdose or death and the drug should only be taken under the experienced supervision of medical professionals.

Morphine was used by doctors on the battlefield during the American Civil War to alleviate the pain experienced by wounded soldiers. At the time, the drug was believed to be non- habit forming but after the war, it was apparent that many veterans were addicted to it. Today, morphine addiction is a worldwide health and social problem. Heroin, another popular drug, is synthesized from morphine and is converted back to morphine when it enters the brain. Morphine addiction is a brain disease that can cause serious consequences. Improper usage and abuse of the drug can lead to addiction, however, when MS Contin is taken as recommended by a physician, morphine addiction should not occur.

MS Contin Use and Side Effects

MS Contin is an odorless, white, crystalline powder that is soluble in water. The drug is formulated as a time-released pill or tablet that should be taken whole. To avoid a potentially fatal overdose by the rapid release and absorption of morphine, MS Contin should never be chewed, dissolved or crushed up and snorted, although individuals seeking a quick euphoric high sometimes use these methods. MS Contin has the ability to cause severe respiratory depression and should not be used by anyone with asthma, lung disease, sleep apnea, COPD or other breathing problems. The drug should not be taken with alcohol, or by anyone who has problems with the gallbladder, thyroid, pancreas, liver or kidneys. It is dangerous to take MS Contin by anyone with a head injury, brain tumor, seizures, a history of drug abuse or alcohol addiction, mental illness or problems urinating.

Regarding interactions between MS Contin and other prescription drugs, the patient should consult their physician. Certain drugs, alcohol and depressants can cause increased side effects, some of which can be lethal.

Common side effects of MS Contin include:

  • Drowsiness,
  • Constipation,
  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting,
  • Anxiety,
  • Mild itching.

Severe side effects of MS Contin include:

  • Shallow breathing,
  • Slow heartbeat,
  • Seizures,
  • Trouble swallowing,
  • Severe weakness,
  • Stiff muscles,
  • Drowsiness and sedation,
  • Pale skin,
  • Fainting,
  • Fever,
  • Hives,
  • Rash,
  • Itching,
  • Confusion,
  • Inability to urinate,
  • Odd thoughts and behavior.


Because this medicine can produce a wide variety of side effects, it is advised that a user should not drive, operate machinery or engage in dangerous activity. In addition, morphine can cause physical problems, life-threatening addiction or withdrawal symptoms in an unborn child. Anyone who is pregnant, trying to get pregnant and/or breastfeeding should not take MS Contin.

MS Contin Abuse and Overdose

Morphine is a very strong opiate and is highly addictive both physically and psychologically. The average person will become accustomed to the presence of opiates in their body within two weeks of taking MS Contin. Once this habituation occurs, the person will start to experience cravings for the drug and these cravings may negatively affect logical thinking and acting. When someone becomes physically dependent to MS Contin, he or she will often suffer withdrawal symptoms if the drug is stopped suddenly.

Common detox and withdrawal symptoms of MS Contin include:

  • Restlessness,
  • Morphine cravings,
  • Teary eyes,
  • Anxiety,
  • Runny nose,
  • Lowered heart or breathing rate,
  • Sleep problems,
  • Weakness,
  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Stomach cramps,
  • Chills;
  • Muscle or joint pain,
  • Sweating

Recovery from opiate addiction should include a slow weaning off the drug along with nutritional supplementation, under the care of a physician or drug rehabilitation facility. Drug addiction strips the body of important nutrition that would otherwise help alleviate some of the symptoms of withdrawal. Non-addictive drugs are also available to aid in the relief of uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. Psychological counseling and behavior modification will help to educate the patient and teach them coping skills to try to avoid relapse.

Relapsing can prove dangerous and have potentially lethal consequences, as tolerance to the drug has been lowered and a user may take too much of the drug at one time. Most morphine deaths occur from overdose because the user ingests, snorts or injects a large amount at once. Severe adverse reactions to abuse or overdose of MS Contin include respiratory depression, memory loss, tremors, involuntary eye movement, headache, stupor, coma, flaccid muscles, low or high blood pressure, slow heart action, constricted pupils, cold and clammy skin, cardiac arrest, abnormal fluid buildup in the lungs, breathing cessation, coma and death. Immediate emergency medical help should be obtained if someone is experiencing any of these symptoms.