Cancer Home > Morphine Sulfate ER Dosage

The morphine sulfate ER dosage you are prescribed will depend on various factors. For example, if you have taken oral morphine before, the dose will be the same on a mg-per-mg basis. Morphine sulfate ER doses are taken around the clock (rather than on an "as needed" basis), usually every 8, 12, or 24 hours.

Morphine Sulfate ER Dosage: An Introduction

The dose of morphine sulfate ER (Avinza®, Kadian®, MS Contin®, Oramorph® SR) that your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
  • The particular morphine sulfate ER product
  • How you respond to morphine sulfate ER
  • The type and dose of other painkillers you have taken
  • The type and severity of your pain
  • Other medications you are taking
  • Other medical conditions you may have.
As is always the case, do not adjust your dosage unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.

Dosage of Morphine Sulfate ER for Pain

The starting dose of morphine sulfate ER your healthcare provider recommends will depend mostly on the dose and type of painkillers you were previously taking. For oral forms of morphine, a straight mg-per-mg conversion is recommended. Simply add up the total mg of morphine you take per day; this is the recommended total morphine sulfate ER daily dose, given as one, two, or three doses per day (depending on the particular product). Avinza is taken just once a day. Kadian is taken once or twice a day. MS Contin and Oramorph SR are taken two or three times a day.
If you are switching from any non-morphine painkillers or from injected morphine, your healthcare provider will need to convert your current dosage to an appropriate morphine sulfate ER dosage. It is often best to underestimate (rather than overestimate) the dose initially, in order to avoid dangerous morphine sulfate ER side effects.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend a "rescue" medication (a short-acting painkiller) to use in addition to morphine sulfate ER for times when your pain is especially severe (known as "breakthrough pain," as it breaks through your baseline, long-acting painkiller). A rescue medication can be especially useful when you are first starting morphine sulfate ER, as many healthcare providers underestimate your initial morphine requirement (in order to avoid dangerous side effects).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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