Morphine sulfate can be detected in your urine, blood and hair samples long after its effects have worn off in your body.

Morphine sulfate can be given in pill form, liquid form or intravenously. The rate at which this prescription affects each person varies, depending on previous opioid use, age and general medical condition. On average, morphine sulfate starts working within 30 to 60 minutes when taken orally; it works quicker when given intravenously. The pain relief effects start to wear off after 4 to 6 hours.

However, there is still morphine sulfate in your body when its effects have worn off. It takes significantly more time for all the morphine sulfate to leave your system.

How Long Does Morphine Sulfate Stay in Your Urine, Hair and Blood?

Drug test screenings can detect whether a drug or substance is still in your body. Morphine sulfate will show up in a drug test screening, so it’s important to inform your drug test administrator that you are taking or have recently taken this prescription.

After the last dose, morphine sulfate can be detected:

  • In blood for up to 1 day
  • In urine for up to 3 days
  • In a hair sample for up to 90 days

Half-Life of Morphine Sulfate

The half-life of a medication is the time it takes for half of the substance to leave the body after the last dose. The half-life for morphine sulfate is 1.5–2 hours, or 2–4 hours for MS Contin, a long-acting dose. Since it can take around five half-lives for a substance to completely leave the body, that means morphine sulfate can remain for up to 20 hours.

Factors That Influence How Long Morphine Sulfate Stays in Your System

There are several factors that can influence how long morphine sulfate will stay in your system. These factors include:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Body fat percentage
  • Metabolism
  • Liver and kidney function
  • Dosage
  • Alcohol intake
  • Other medications you may be taking
  • Medical condition
  • Length of time taking the medication

Morphine Sulfate Prescription Facts

Morphine sulfate is an opioid analgesic, which alters the way that your body feels and responds to pain by affecting certain receptors in the central nervous system. It can be prescribed for acute pain or chronic pain, and it is highly addictive.

As with any other prescription drug, morphine sulfate carries a risk of side effects. These side effects can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Sweating

Serious side effects can also occur, including mental/mood changes, severe stomach pain, difficulty urinating, loss of appetite, unusual tiredness and weight loss. If you experience any of these side effects, contact your doctor right away. Your doctor can help you decide if morphine sulfate is the right choice to treat your pain.

Morphine Sulfate Regulations

Morphine sulfate is listed under the Controlled Substance Act in the United States as a Schedule II controlled substance. Schedule II controlled substances have a high potential for addiction and abuse. Refills of prescription drugs on this list are not allowed, and only a doctor licensed to prescribe opiates can prescribe morphine sulfate.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs Containing Morphine Sulfate

Morphine sulfate is available under multiple brand names, including Kadian, MS Contin, Arymo ER and MorphaBond.

Morphine is used to make many commonly abused drugs, such as hydromorphoneoxymorphone and heroin.

How Morphine Sulfate Affects the Brain and Body

In addition to affecting receptors in the central nervous system that regulate how you feel pain, morphine sulfate affects multiple other parts of the body.

  • Morphin can stimulate the same receptors found in the intestines, often leading to constipation.
  • Studies have shown that morphine sulfate has a negative effect on cognitive abilities.
  • A single dose of morphine sulfate has been shown to alter certain genes in your body involving respiration and cytoskeleton-related proteins.

Do not abruptly stop taking morphine sulfate as you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Consult your doctor or an addiction treatment facility so they can help you taper off this prescription medication.

If you are abusing morphine sulfate and find it hard to stop, help is available. Contact The Recovery Village to discuss treatment options that could meet your needs. Our addiction specialists can help you detox from the substance and work on the root of why you took morphine sulfate in the first place.

a woman wearing glasses and a blazer.
Editor – Melissa Carmona
Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing experience to work helping people understand substance abuse, addiction and mental health disorders. Read more
a woman wearing glasses and a black top.
Medically Reviewed By – Heena Joshi, PharmD
Dr. Joshi earned her Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Neurobiology from the University of Maryland. She went on to earn her Doctorate in Pharmacy from The Ohio State University. Read more

Datapharm Ltd. “Morphine Sulfate 10mg/ml Injection BP.” Electronic Medicines Compendium, February 22, 2021. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Datapharm Ltd. “Morphine 10mg/5ml Oral Solution.” Electronic Medicines Compendium, September 18, 2020. Accessed August 20, 2021.

University of Michigan Health. “Morphine.” October 14, 2019. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Farsi, Davood; Movahedi, Mitra; Hafezimoghadam, Peyman; Abbasi, Saeed; Shahlaee, Abtin; Rahimi-Movaghar, Vafa. “Acute pain management with intravenous 0[…]bo-controlled trial.” Turkish Journal of Trauma & Emergency Surgery, September 2013. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Milone, Michael C. “Laboratory Testing for Prescription Opioids.” Journal of Medical Toxicology, December 1, 2012. Accessed August 20, 2021.

ARUP Laboratories. “Drug Plasma Half-Life and Urine Detection Window.” January 2019. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Khajuria, Himanshu; Nayak, Biswa P. “Detection and accumulation of morphine i[…] hair using GC–MS.” Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences, December 2016. Accessed August 20, 2021.

University of Iowa Healthcare. “Adult Opioid Reference Guide.” June 2012. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Hallare, Jericho; Gerriets, Valerie. “Half Life.” StatPearls, October 6, 2020. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Murph, Patrick B.; Bechmann, Samuel; Barrett, Michael J. “Morphine.” StatPearls, May 30, 2021. Accessed August 20, 2021.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Morphine.” MedlinePlus, February 15, 2021. Accessed August 20, 2021.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Morphine Injection.” MedlinePlus, February 15, 2021. Accessed August 20, 2021.

U.S. Department of Justice. “List of Controlled Substances.” Drug Enforcement Administration, July 2021. Accessed August 20, 2021.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Attention and Memory Disorders Related t[…]orphine (MEMOMORPH).” ClinicalTrials, Updated July 11, 2018. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Loguinov, A.; Anderson, L.; Crosby, G.; Yukhananov, R. “Gene expression following acute morphine administration.” The American Physiological Society, July 11, 2001. Accessed August 20, 2021.

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.