Opioids can be highly addictive, even if they are given in a healthcare setting and monitored closely. One such opioid is Infumorph, a potent formulation of morphine that is administered into the spine with a catheter. Even though the drug is restricted to healthcare settings, it still carries a high risk for addiction and abuse.
Article at a Glance:
- Infumorph is a potent formulation of morphine that is administered into the spine.
- As a potent opioid, it can quickly cause physical dependence and put people at risk for abuse and addiction.
- Side effects are similar to other opioids and include constipation, nausea and vomiting.
- Medical detox and rehab options are available if you are struggling with Infumorph.
Table of Contents
Infumorph is a highly addictive opioid that’s used for the treatment of chronic severe pain. It also carries a high potential for overdose. Due to its highly addictive nature, alternative methods of pain management should be tried before using Infumorph. The lowest possible effective dose should be used in order to reduce the likelihood of complications, dependency and overdose.
People using Infumorph exactly as directed may still develop a dependence or addiction. Seek help right away if you believe that you or someone in your life is abusing this drug.
What is Infumorph?
Infumorph is a powerful liquid formulation of morphine sulfate that’s administered via spinal injection. Due to its highly addictive nature, it is classified as a Schedule II substance by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
It is used to treat severe chronic pain in people who are already used to taking opioids. It is a full opioid agonist, meaning that it fully activates the opioid receptors in the central nervous system to relieve pain. Infumorph produces progressively more prominent effects up until the point of overdose. It should not be used in people who are not already opioid-tolerant due to the drug’s increased risk of overdose.
Doses are administered in continuous “microdoses” by an automated machine. Only medical professionals who are specially trained in the administration of spinal analgesics can provide treatment with Infumorph. For this reason, Infumorph is generally only given in a hospital setting.
Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects of Abuse
Common adverse side effects of Infumorph are similar to those of other opioids and include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Itchy skin
Because it is given through the spine, it is also possible to have an infection or irritation at the injection site. If you experience irritation, itching or pain at the injection site, you should tell your medical provider as soon as possible.
Signs of Misuse
It is possible for people to misuse opioids like Infumorph even when they are given in a hospital setting. Signs of opioid misuse can include drug-seeking behavior, such as asking for higher or more frequent doses of Infumorph or another opioid, even if the pain is well-controlled.
Signs of addiction can include losing interest in the hobbies and activities you once enjoyed and becoming obsessed with finding and using opioids in general.
Infumorph is a powerful central nervous system depressant. It suppresses the automatic urge to breathe by acting directly on the brain stem, the area of the brain that controls respiration. The brain stem triggers breathing based on carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Infumorph inhibits the brainstem’s ability to register elevated carbon dioxide levels.
In the event of an overdose, the body is, therefore, unaware of the need to breathe. This can lead to toxic carbon dioxide levels and oxygen-starved cells. If too much time elapses before the person receives emergency treatment, they can die.
The amount of Infumorph necessary to overdose varies dramatically. Doses are administered in microdoses via continuous spinal injection. The risk of slowed breathing is greatest when Infumorph is first started or when the dose is increased.
Infomorph overdose symptoms include:
- Slowed breathing
- Flaccid muscles
- Cold and clammy skin
- Constricted pupils
In the event of an emergency, or if you believe you are witnessing an overdose, even in a hospital, tell the healthcare team immediately. They will be able to give an opioid reversal agent like naloxone if necessary.
Infumorph and Alcohol
Infumorph should not be mixed with alcohol. The combined use of Infumorph and alcohol can increase the likelihood of opioid overdose and alcohol toxicity. It should not be taken in conjunction with serotonergic drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used to treat depression.
Using Infumorph and drugs that impact serotonin, like antidepressants, can result in serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a state of serotonin overload that can lead to permanent psychosis and death in severe cases. Use should be discontinued if the potential for serotonin syndrome is suspected.
Even if you have been taking Infumorph as prescribed long-term for pain control, it is possible to become addicted to the drug. As your body becomes used to the prescribed dose, your central nervous system begins to rely on the presence of the drug, meaning that you become physically dependent on it. If you suddenly stop taking the drug, you will experience withdrawal symptoms because the chemical balance in your brain is thrown off.
People who are no longer interested in treating their pain with Infumorph should schedule a meeting with their doctors to discuss their treatment options. Usually, doctors will lower the Infumorph dosage gradually over time. This strategy, known as tapering off, will help the body adjust to less and less of the medication and aid you in avoiding severe withdrawal symptoms.
People using Infumorph should never stop taking the medication suddenly or “cold turkey,” as this will increase the risk of experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. In addition, you should never adjust your treatment schedule or dosage without obtaining explicit instructions from your doctor.
Those who are struggling to manage withdrawal symptoms should seek out a medically-assisted detoxification program during this difficult time. In this program, you can safely detox from Infumorph while learning withdrawal coping skills from professionally-trained staffers.
Common Infumorph withdrawal symptoms include:
- Runny eyes or nose
- Muscle aches
- Enlarged pupils
Withdrawal Timeline and Symptom Duration
The timeline and symptom duration for Infumorph withdrawal vary from person to person. Generally, withdrawal symptoms for morphine can last anywhere from four to 10 days.
Infumorph Addiction Treatment & Detox
The Recovery Village has a variety of rehabilitation programs available for people who have developed an addiction to Infumorph or other opioids. Before beginning treatment with either inpatient or outpatient rehab, people should be completely detoxed from Infumorph. Once the medication is safely removed from the body, people can attend individual and group counseling sessions as well as participate in recreational activities during their time at The Recovery Village.
Inpatient rehab is a treatment program that requires people to live at one of The Recovery Village’s designated inpatient centers while they recover from addiction. This treatment option is especially beneficial for those with severe addiction or those who would find recovery difficult due to distractions from home.
After finishing inpatient rehab, people will enter the outpatient rehab program. This program allows people to live at home while they come to The Recovery Village for their treatment appointments. Those with less severe addictions may begin treatment with the outpatient program and skip inpatient rehab entirely, as daily life is much more accessible with outpatient rehab.
Choosing an Infumorph Rehab Center
Finding a rehab center is an important step in living a substance-free life. Schedule a meeting with your doctor to discuss what features you should seek in a rehab center. Together with your doctor, consider how long you have been using Infumorph, your Infumorph dosage levels and if you have been using any other medications.
If you or someone you know is struggling with Infumorph addiction or another substance abuse disorder, seek professional help as soon as possible. Contact The Recovery Village to discuss the various treatment options available.
FAQs & Related
- How is Infumorph used?
Infumorph is a morphine formulation that is infused into the spinal cord to treat severe pain. Your doctor may choose to give it as an epidural or an intrathecal drug. Typically, a catheter needs to be implanted to deliver the drug’s microdoses.
- In the event of an overdose emergency, should naloxone be administered?
If slowed breathing or other overdose signs are present, an opioid reversal agent like naloxone will be needed. Naloxone can rapidly reverse the effects of morphine by breaking its bonds to opioid receptors. In cases of severe overdose, naloxone may need to be administered multiple times.
- How long does Infumorph stay in your system?
Several factors influence how long Infumoph stays in the body. These factors include your age, rate of metabolism, genetics, organ function, other medications you may be taking, physical or mental health conditions, your Infumorph dosage levels and how often you take a dose of Infumorph.
The amount of time Infumorph can be detected in your system varies depending on which type of drug test you are being administered. Some estimates as to how long Infumorph can be found in your urine, saliva and blood are as follows:
- Urine: In most cases, Infumorph should be undetectable in your system after three days since the last dose.
- Blood: Blood or plasma samples will contain traces of Infumorph for almost seven hours after it was last taken.
- Hair: Morphine can be found in the hair. A 1.5-inch sample of hair shows any morphine taken over the past 90 days.
- Saliva: Infumorph may be found in saliva for up to two days since the last dose.
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World Health Organization. “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings.” Published 2009. Accessed August 2, 2020.
ARUP Laboratories. “Drug Plasma Half-Life and Urine Detection Window.” January 2019. Accessed August 2, 2020.
Cansford Laboratories. “Oral Fluid (Saliva) Testing.” Accessed August 2, 2020.
Gryczynski J, Schwartz RP, Mitchell SG, et al. “Hair Drug Testing Results and Self-reported Drug Use among Primary Care Patients with Moderate-risk Illicit Drug Use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, May 17, 2014. Accessed August 2, 2020.
White RM. “Drugs in hair. Part I. Metabolisms of major drug classes.” Forensic Science Review, January 1, 2017. Accessed August 2, 2020.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.