D.3.4 Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using morphine and its derivatives as strong analgesics.



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Definition:
Morphine is a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the poppy plant, Papavar somniferum. Morphine is "the principal and most active alkaloid of opium; used as the sulfate or hydrochloride salt as an analgesic It also induces sleep and produces euphoria (a feeling of well-being). After heroin, it is the most potentially addictive narcotic substance.

Morphine dulls the senses by inhibiting proper function of the central nervous system. Cheap and highly effective, morphine is often used as a painkiller (commonly used in the treatment of heart attacks).

Ways to consume morphine:
- Injected
- Smoked
- Sniffed
- Swallowed


Advantages
  • A great pain killer used to relieve moderate to serious pain
  • Easy to acquire
  • Commonly used in hospitals
  • Cheap

Disadvantages

Short Term
  • Allergic reactions like skin rashes, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Respiratory problems
  • Slows the central nervous system
  • Loss of cough reflux
  • Confusion
  • Fever, chills
  • Hallucinations
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded, losing consciousness
  • Redness or soreness at the injection site
  • Seizures
  • Overall slowing down of biological systems
  • Overdoses can lead to death
  • Cannot be taken with alcohol
  • Severe withdrawal symptoms if it the patient suddenly stops taking it(described below)
  • Cannot be taken by someone with certain medical conditions, such as asthma or kidney diseases
  • Should not be taken by pregnant women, may cause birth defects
  • Some patients may be opioid-tolerant, and thus cannot take morphine
  • Possibility of stroke
  • Overall slowing down of biological systems

Long Term
  • Addiction and very strong withdrawal effects
  • Severe constipation - pain from constipation may be worse than initial pain itself
  • Disruptions in menstruation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of libido
  • Problems associated with buying street drugs
  • Rapid tolerance (higher and higher doses of the drug is needed to maintain the effect, increases potential of overdose)


Other Side Effects

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (but that may require treatment if they persist)
  • Dizziness, drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Euphoria
  • Sweating
  • Drowsiness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Apathy
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Constipation
  • Urinary retention
  • Nausea, tremors, itching
  • Bradycardia
  • Severe respiratory depression (slowing down of breathing rate)