Oramorph is a highly addictive painkiller that carries a high potential for overdose and complications with other drugs. Oramorph is used for the treatment of severe pain that is unresponsive to milder forms of pain control. Oramorph should not be mixed with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants. Doing so can result in severe respiratory depression and catastrophic organ failure.
Oramorph should not be combined with benzodiazepines (Xanax), non-benzodiazepine sedative/hypnotics, MAO inhibitors, anxiolytics, tranquilizers, or muscle relaxants. The concomitant use of opioids with benzodiazepines is related to a high percentage of opioid overdose cases.
Oramorph is a sustained-release version of the potent opioid morphine. It’s a white tablet that’s ingested orally. Oramorph is formulated with multiple beads, each with a coating that is designed to dissolve at different rates. The sustained-release feature is designed to gradually release small amounts of the drug into the patient’s system over an extended period of time.
Individuals can bypass the sustained-release feature by crushing the tablet. Recreational users then either swallow, snort, or melt and inject the substance. This greatly increases the risk of life-threatening complications and overdose. Extended-release opioids are considered highly dangerous for this reason. Their distribution is tightly controlled by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Oramorph is classified as a Schedule II substance in the United States.
Oramorph achieves its pain-relieving effects by binding to specific opioid receptors in the body. By binding to these receptors, Oramorph reduces the patient’s perception of pain.
The primary risk factor associated with Oramorph use is severe respiratory depression. Mixing alcohol with Oramorph greatly increases this risk. Both alcohol and Oramorph are primarily metabolized by the liver. The presence of both substances can inhibit the body’s ability to effectively eliminated them. Concomitant use of alcohol and Oramorph can lead to extended clearance times and elevated blood plasma levels of both substances.
Both Oramorph and alcohol are central nervous system depressants. Oramorph suppresses the subconscious instinct to breathe by inhibiting the brainstem from interpreting carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Contrary to popular belief, it is elevated carbon dioxide levels, not low oxygen levels, that drive the urge to breathe. Under normal circumstances, the brainstem triggers respiration when elevated carbon dioxide levels in the blood are reached. The body then breathes to expel the excess carbon dioxide. In the event of overdose, this process can become fully disrupted.
Oramorph should not be mixed with other central nervous system depressants, including alcohol, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, and non-benzodiazepine sedative/hypnotics. MAO inhibitors used for depression should also be avoided. Concomitant use of benzodiazepines is associated with a high percentage of recreational opioid overdose cases. Common side effects of combined opioid/alcohol overdose include nausea, vomiting, cold or clammy skin, blue lips and fingernails, severe respiratory depression, severely decreased level of consciousness, pinpoint pupils, muscle flaccidity, poor coordination, and slurred speech.
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