Cancer Home > Morphine Sulfate/Naltrexone Hydrochloride

When and How to Take It

Some general considerations include the following:
 
  • The medication comes in capsule form. It is taken by mouth once a day (every 24 hours) or twice a day (every 12 hours). It is not meant to be taken on an "as needed" basis (at unscheduled times when needed for pain).
     
  • Never crush, chew, or dissolve the capsules (or the beads inside the capsules), as this would release a dangerous amount of morphine and would release the naltrexone (potentially negating the effects of the morphine). It is also dangerous to inject this medication, as it contains inactive ingredients that can cause damage when injected directly into the bloodstream.
     
  • You cannot drink any alcohol (or even take medications or eat foods that contain alcohol) while taking morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride, as alcohol can cause the beads to release morphine too quickly. This may result in an overdose. Check the ingredient list of all your liquid medications (such as cough syrups) for alcohol content.
     
  • It does not matter if you take the medication with food or on an empty stomach. If it bothers your stomach, try taking the capsules with food.
     
  • Most people swallow the capsules whole. However, if you have difficulty swallowing, your healthcare provider may recommend taking it with applesauce. To do this, open the capsule and sprinkle the beads on a small amount of room-temperature (or colder) applesauce. Swallow the applesauce immediately, entirely, and without chewing. Rinse your mouth and swallow to make sure there are no beads remaining in your mouth.
     
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not increase your dose without your healthcare provider's approval. Do not suddenly stop taking morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride, especially if you have taken it regularly for more than several weeks (see Embeda Withdrawal).
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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