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Morphine oral solution


This resource is about the use of morphine to reduce moderate to severe pain. This might be pain from an injury, after an operation or due to an illness.

This information has been written specifically about the use of this medicine in children. The information may differ from that provided by the manufacturer. Please read this information carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

⚠ Do not give extra doses of morphine, as this can be dangerous

Name of medicine


Common brand name


Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

Morphine will help to control your child’s pain and discomfort.

When should I give morphine?

Give your child a dose of morphine when other painkillers have not worked, and your child is still in pain.

If you give your child morphine, continue to give the other painkillers prescribed by your doctor when your child went home.

The label will tell you how often you can give it. If you are not sure, check with your pharmacist or doctor first.


Top tip: Write down the time that you give each dose, to help you remember.

How much morphine should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of morphine (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

⚠ It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give

How should I give morphine?

Start with the lowest dose given on the label. If this does not work, you can give the bigger dose stated on the label when the next dose is due.

⚠ Do not give a dose if your child is sleepy.

Giving liquid medicine

Measure out the right amount using an oral syringe or medicine spoon. You can get these from your pharmacist.


Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.

When should the medicine start working?

Your child should start to feel less pain within 1 hour of taking the first dose of morphine.

What if my child is sick after morphine?

Some children may be sick or feel sick after taking morphine.

⚠ If your child is sick after taking a dose, do not give another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

What if I forget to give the morphine?

Don’t worry if you forget a dose. Morphine stays in the body for a while and will continue to work.

Only give a dose of morphine if your child is in pain and never give doses more often than every 4 hours.

What if I give too much morphine?

⚠ It can be dangerous to give your child too much morphine.

Call 999
If you think you may have given your child too much morphine, contact your doctor straight away. If your child seems very sleepy, or if they have problems with their breathing, your child may have had too much morphine. Phone 999 for an ambulance straight away. Take the medicine container or pack with you, even if it is empty. This will be useful to the doctor.

Are there any side-effects of morphine?

We use medicines to make our children better but sometimes they have other effects that we do not want (side-effects).

Side-effects you must do something about

If your child has difficulty breathing, stops breathing or seems very sleepy, phone 999 for an ambulance straight away.

Other side-effects you need to know about

After taking morphine, your child may

  • feel sick or be sick (vomit)
  • get headaches, have a dry mouth or sweat, and their skin may flush (go red)
  • have changes in mood
  • feel dizzy and they may feel light-headed when they stand up
  • find it difficult to have a wee – contact your doctor if this happens
  • find it difficult having a poo (constipation)

You can help with constipation by giving your child plenty to drink. Your doctor may suggest that your child also takes laxatives (medicine that will help them go to the toilet). It is important that your child does not strain on the toilet.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as morphine?

⚠ Some painkillers and cough medicines contain codeine or dihydrocodeine (you can find this information on the label). Do not give these to your child.

⚠ Morphine should not be taken with some common medicines that you get on prescription. It is important to tell your doctor and pharmacist that your child is taking morphine.

You can give your child medicine that contains paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.

Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

Is there anything else that I need to know about this medicine?

You may have heard that some people become addicted to morphine or dependent on it. This is unlikely to happen when morphine is given to children in pain and in correct doses.

Morphine is often given to children and adults with life threatening or terminal illnesses. Morphine does not shorten a person’s life.

An antidote can be given to someone who has had too much morphine. This has to be done in hospital.

General advice about morphine

  • If you are not sure that a medicine is working, contact your doctor. Do not give extra doses of morphine.
  • Only give morphine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.

⚠ If you think someone else may have taken morphine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.

  • Write down the times that you give morphine, to help you remember, and to make sure that you do not give too much.
  • Make sure that the medicine is not older than the ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacists to dispose of

Where should I keep this medicine?

Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. It does not need to be kept in the fridge.

Make sure that children cannot see or reach it.

Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who can I contact for more information about morphine?

Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to give you more information about morphine and other medicines or methods of pain relief.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: PHA1

Resource Type: Article

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