Oramorph / Morphine Side affects - British Lung Foun...

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Oramorph / Morphine Side affects

Plumbob profile image

How many of you lovely people out there who take morphine have had side affects from it?

I tried it, as advised by my palliative nurse a few months ago, as I was having serious coughing fits which caused my oxygen levels to plummet and cause me to have what I call, my plastic bag moments (unable to breath and felt like I was being suffocated by a plastic bag over my head _scary moments). The nurse said the oramorph would calm my muscles down and the coughs wouldn't be as violent and oxygen should be ok.......I said after a few days I'm not using it as it was causing additional breathing problems (which were making matters worse).

I have recently had a big dip in my breathing, coughing and oxygen levels. The nurse said I should try oramorph/morphine again and use slow release morphine tablets. I reminded them that I struggled with it last time, and they replied they thought it might have been the mixture of other medicines or infection before, so I should try again -I decided to take it again.

First day appeared to be ok, second and third day I could only manage 3 steps and I was out of breath with no energy and literally unable to breath, which was pretty scary, for me and my wife. This was happening every time I moved and felt like my lungs weren't working at all. At one point I thought I was saying good bye!!!

I stopped taking it straight away (I was only taking the oramorph), and Hey presto there's a big improvement with my already laboured breathing !!!........ I believe the oramorph was relaxing my chest muscles that much that my lungs were struggling to work ... Obviously I've had a bad few days, but now I'm back to my happy coughing exhausted self :P

Just wondered if anyone else had experienced anything similar with the Morphine / Oramorph ?

Thanks in advance and stay well (as you can) out there


17 Replies

Hi Plumbob great to see you sorry your not well.

I use morphine patches for pain and yes my breathing is slightly worse but have got used to it now. I'm sorry this might not help you but hope your ok plumbob

Plumbob profile image
Plumbob in reply to onamission

Cheers onamission

I've been a bit 'Winded'!! But they haven't knocked me out yet !!! Fresh air is free so I'm trying to stay around to get my money's worth !!!

Hope you are ok and still fighting

Stay well as you can

Owen x

I have also been on Oramorph since about May/June I have to take 1.25 four times a day. I only take it twice a day as I found it made me quite tired. I have to say that I think it has helped my breathing. I also was referred by my respiratory nurse to the palliative team at the local hospice who came to visit twice before I actually started using it. I am inclined to agree with your thoughts on relaxing you to much. The palliative nurse is aware that I only now take it twice a day. I have met others at the hospice who are taking it for the same reasons as myself and have not heard anyone say anything other than it makes them constipated. Like a lot of drugs what suits one will not suit another. I do hope that you continue to feel better.

Plumbob profile image
Plumbob in reply to clematis5932

Thanks for that Clematis

Think your right in everyone is different and react differently

It maybe that my lungs are in a very poor state , (which may be the nurse didn't realise ) and that has compounded things ??

Take care


Hi Owen, I have not taken Morhphine in any form but was prescribed quite a high dose of lorazepam sometime ago which helped my breathing immensely in emergency situations. It acts quickly. If it is not one you have tried then maybe ask your team if you could try some.

Plumbob profile image
Plumbob in reply to Justdoit2015

Thanks for that Justdoit but I have some as a last resort should I need it. Iv'e never had to use it yet but I will probably need it now that I'm not taking the Morphine

Take Care


I am Morphine Tolerant When I was in A&E I was given Morphine at home and again in the ambulance and again in hospital. I was talking to the doctor and still in pain he gave me some more and said any more and it would be dangerous. He came back to check me out and I was still very lucid and in pain. He later came with students and got them to ask questions and at the end he then asked them how much if any morphine I had been given. They all got it wrong. I should of had a glazed expression apparently? Not sure if the pain was keeping the affect away but anaesthetics ware off very quickly with me. I have woke in operating theatres a few times.

Be Well

Plumbob profile image
Plumbob in reply to Offcut

Your obviously a tough veneer or from a strong piece of oak, Offcut !!!

Take Care


hi Plumbob...i think I am experiencing the same symptoms as you are except i am not taking any morphine. i get a tickle in my throat which sends me into a deep coughing spasm with very little sputum. the coughing results in my 02 concentration dipping very low and i feel like i can't get,my breath. it makes me feel very tired! i am stage 4 with FEV 1 of 25%. my blood pressure is skyrocketing but docs do nothing. i do take xeralto (blood thinner) and metroprolol (heart rate). The last few weeks i have noticed i

struggle to breathe when i do any exertion. i have been on 02 for 0ver 5 years. (24/7) constant flow 3 LPM) i am concerned i am heading to a wheel chair and no doc can/will tell me if i am getting close! i am just wondering if anyone feels this way and has any info for me. i can deal with the truth! the unknowing part is a drain.thanks jackie

Plumbob profile image
Plumbob in reply to Mooskie

Hi Jackie -Thanks for your reply.

I am assuming you are an IPF sufferer ? Stopping the morphine has eased some symptoms (it even says on the instruction pamphlet it can slow down your breathing?) But I still get similar symptoms you describe, High heart rate, low oxygen levels and total exhaustion, which can be very scary!! And it can be induced by the slightest of things. It's got to a point I don't want to get out of bed or rise from a chair in case I start coughing. But you just have to get on with it !!!

Take care of yourself !!


Hi, so sorry oromorph doesn't work for you. I have 1.25ml dose from a syringe without a needle and it works like magic!

Plumbob profile image
Plumbob in reply to Grannyof6

I just like to be different Granny !!!

Though it does say on the instruction pamphlet it can cause breathing problems !!

Take care


Hi Plumbob, you can't find two patients the same. Different health issues, body sizes, etc. I take 120mg slow release capsules twice a day, plus 5 to 10 ml of oramorph up to four times per day. My only problem is bowel management.

I hope you find a more comfortable solution.

Regards Rib

Plumbob profile image
Plumbob in reply to RibvanRey


Your quite right we all react differently to medication .... I just like to keep the medical profession on their toes :) :)

Take care


Dear PlumbBob

These are the contraindications for Oramorph so it is not surprising that you suffered so badly. Why they prescribe these drugs to people who are clearly supposed to NOT take them I do not know! Well to that question I have my own personal opinions. Here is the link and it clearly shows many reasons why you should NOT be prescribed these drugs.

Morphine contraindications:


Oramorph contraindications:


It can help people who have a problem with prolonged coughing. It should clearly be avoided if you have severely reduced lung function or severe lung problems. I have a few friends who had severe lung conditions who were given Morphine or Oramorph and I can tell you they did not survive long at all. I would definitely not take either of these drugs in any form.

I have a restrictive lung disesae and I rarely have problems with coughing. This may be a ridiculous suggestion as I have never experienced coughing. I sometimes get a very short spell of coughing but very rarely and, of course, compared to most people who have things like COPD or Emphysema mine would be so mild that it would hardly be noticeable. I keep some Ice Cream in the freezer to treat this which helps to calm things down and I eat this during any week when I have had short coughing spells. I find the strong peppermint in Tic Tacs to help and I keep these by my bed, I eat two as soon as I can when I start coughing and another two if the first two don't help. Probably a useless suggestion for people like yourself and for people on here who have severe conditions such as COPD but worth trying just in case it should help in any way.

I hope you can find some way to get some relief.

Kind Regards

Twinkling Star Xx

I too suck a mint when I am going to cough.it works for me. Best wishes to all

Hi twinklingstar

First of all thanks for the links -Very interesting

I too have a restrictive disease (asbestosis) and originally didn't cough much. But now if I cough my oxygen levels start to drop to the point where I am struggling to breath (My transfer rate is less than 30% of the oxygen my body requires to start with, so it doesn't take much for my oxygen level to drop below 80% ) as a result I am gasping for breath which causes me to cough more -It's just one vicious circle to the point I have to sit down wherever I am before I collapse.

I agree with you sometimes ice-cream /cold water does ease things and also peppermint helps prevents the trapped wind under my diaphragm which I am prone to, which restricts the movement of my diaphragm and restricts my breathing even more.

I was annoyed with the palliative care nurse who gave me (and my wife) a valid reason for trying the morphine even though I said I had previously reacted to it !!

Take care


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