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How Does Morphine Sulfate/Naltrexone Hydrochloride Work?

Morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride capsules contain tiny, extended-release beads that are specially designed to release morphine evenly throughout the day, allowing for once- or twice-daily dosing. Additionally, each bead contains a dose of naltrexone, a medication that counteracts the effects of morphine. When the medication is taken correctly, little or no naltrexone is absorbed into the body.
 
However, if the medication is crushed or dissolved (such as to snort or inject the drug), the naltrexone will be released, counteracting the effects (including the pleasurable effects) of morphine.
 

Abuse Potential

Common sense suggests that morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride may have a lower risk of abuse (at least by snorting or injection) compared to other forms of morphine, due to the naltrexone component. However, because this has not yet been demonstrated by studies, the manufacturer cannot yet claim that the drug is less likely to be abused.
 
Morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride contains morphine, a drug with very high abuse potential. It is a good idea to keep this medication in a safe place in order to prevent theft. Never let someone else take your medication. This medication provides a high dose of morphine that could easily result in death in someone who is not accustomed to the medication. Also, it is very dangerous to inject this medication, as it contains inactive ingredients that can be quite harmful when injected into the bloodstream.
 
Because morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride is a highly desired drug of abuse, people try to obtain it through illegal means, such as from foreign countries or online sources that do not require a prescription. People who abuse morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride and suddenly stop using it are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.
 
For more information, visit the following eMedTV articles:
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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