Fentanyl vs. Morphine

Morphine is a powerful pain reliever that is often used in hospitals and clinical settings but is unfortunately also often abused, It’s part of a class of drugs called opioids, and when comparing strengths of other opioids, morphine is typically used as the standard.

So what about fentanyl vs. morphine? Is fentanyl stronger than morphine? What’s the fentanyl to morphine conversion?

We’ll answer these questions and cover these topics below.

Fentanyl vs. Morphine
Morphine is as mentioned, an opioid, and it changes the way the brain feels and perceives pain when taken. It also has effects on the brain’s emotional regulatory systems, and that’s why when someone takes it, particularly in doses above what’s recommended therapeutically, it can lead to feelings of well-being or even euphoria.

Morphine is used in medical environments to treat pain ranging from moderate to severe and acute to chronic. It can be used for a wide variety of types of pain, and some examples include following a heart attack, before and after surgery, after a car accident, for the treatment of pain from broken bones, in terminal cancer patients, and for the treatment of kidney stones. Of course, this is just a small example of morphine’s uses in the medical environment.

As with other opioids, there are potential side effects that can occur with the use of morphine including constricted pupils, gastrointestinal effects, sedation, respiratory depression, and ultimately the person may develop a tolerance, physical dependence, and psychological addiction to the drug.

Morphine, as with other opioids, changes the functionality of the user’s brain and creates a flood of dopamine to the brain’s reward center, which is why it’s prone to abuse. Along with the high risk of dependence, there’s also the potential for overdose that comes with taking increasingly large doses to achieve the same effects of initially taking morphine.

So, what is the comparison between fentanyl vs. morphine and is fentanyl stronger than morphine?

Fentanyl and morphine are both opioids, so they impact the brain in mostly the same ways, by binding to opioid receptors, but fentanyl is stronger than morphine. Much stronger in fact.

There are different estimates that fentanyl is anywhere from 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and anywhere from 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.

Because of the strength of fentanyl, even a small amount can lead to an overdose or death. For example, according to a report by CNN, a quarter of a milligram, which is 0.25 milligrams of fentanyl can kill a person. The CNN report highlights just how little this is by looking at a baby aspirin that’s 81 mg. If that tablet were to be cut into 324 pieces, one piece would be the equivalent of 0.25. It’s really staggering when comparing fentanyl vs. morphine and understanding just how strong fentanyl is.

Even accidentally inhaling fentanyl can lead to side effects like dizziness and shortness of breath.

When comparing fentanyl vs. morphine and answering “is fentanyl stronger than morphine,” you see the answer is a resounding yes, but what’s even more troubling is that the estimate of fentanyl being 50 to 100 stronger than morphine is only looking at the legitimate prescription versions of the drug.

Fentanyl that’s sourced from China and Mexico and then sold illicitly has the potential to be even stronger than prescription fentanyl. There’s also a trend on the black market for fentanyl to be mixed with heroin to increase the strength, but because of the potency of fentanyl, it can quickly lead to overdose and death.

Also relevant when discussing fentanyl vs. morphine is the differences is applications. Morphine can be prescribed for a wider variety of pain and can be helpful to more patients. Fentanyl, on the other hand, is not intended to be prescribed for acute pain. Instead, it’s for use in chronic pain, usually from cancer, that’s already being treated by another opioid, such as morphine.

Another way to highlight just how strong fentanyl is, is to look at the fentanyl to morphine conversion.

According to palliative treatment charts, transdermal fentanyl, which is the common route of administration of which the patient is given the drug in a skin patch, is around 80 times as potent as morphine. This is based on performing a morphine to fentanyl conversion. This can be compared as an example to oxycodone, which is only around 1.5 times more powerful than morphine, to give an understanding of the differences.

So, when comparing fentanyl vs. morphine and looking at a fentanyl to morphine conversion, fentanyl is much stronger than morphine.

Fentanyl vs. Morphine
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Fentanyl vs. Morphine was last modified: June 28th, 2017 by The Recovery Village