Cancer Home > What Is Morphine Sulfate/Naltrexone Hydrochloride Used For?
Morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride is approved for treating moderate to severe pain in adults. This prescription medication is only used for chronic pain; it is not meant to be used for treating short-term pain (such as after a surgery). The drug is used on a scheduled basis, rather than an "as needed" basis. There are currently no off-label uses of morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride.
An Introduction to Morphine Sulfate/Naltrexone Hydrochloride UsesMorphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride (Embeda™) is a prescription medication approved to treat long-term moderate to severe pain. It is designed in such a way to reduce the risk of abuse by snorting or injecting the drug.
Morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride is meant to be taken every day on a regular schedule. It is not approved for "as needed" use (unscheduled use only when needed) or for short-term use. Morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride is not appropriate for treating pain after a surgery, unless you were already taking this medication before the surgery or unless the pain is expected to last for a long time.
People who are unaccustomed to taking opioid medications should not take the highest strength capsules (morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride 100 mg/4 mg capsules).
Morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride is used to provide a steady "background" level of pain relief. Often, people need to take additional short-acting "rescue" painkillers in addition to morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride for "breakthrough" pain. Because morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride contains morphine, it can be used (or rather, abused) inappropriately (see Embeda Abuse).
How Does It 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.