Common Brands MS Contin, Kadian
Drug Class
Controlled Substance Classification
Schedule II
Generic Status
Lower-cost generic available
Prescription only
Daisy Chau, PharmD
Daisy Chau, PharmD
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Medically reviewed by Daisy Chau, PharmD last update on 20/12/2023


Morphine is a powerful opioid alkaloid that belongs to a larger class of drugs known as opioids or narcotics. It is derived from the opium poppy plant (Papaver somniferum) and is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States due to its high potential for abuse and the risk of physical and psychological dependence. Morphine is available in various formulations, including tablets, injections, and transdermal patches, to cater to different pain management needs.

Mechanism of Action

Morphine exerts its analgesic (pain-relieving) effects by binding to specific receptors in the central nervous system known as mu-opioid receptors. When Morphine binds to these receptors, it modulates the perception of pain, resulting in pain relief and a sense of well-being. This mechanism of action makes Morphine highly effective at managing severe pain but also contributes to its potential for tolerance, dependency, and addiction.

Legal Status and Regulation

Due to its potential for abuse and the associated risks, Morphine is tightly regulated in most countries. In the United States, for example, it is classified as a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This classification means that Morphine can only be legally obtained with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. Strict regulations are in place to monitor its production, distribution, and usage to prevent misuse and diversion.



Prescription only

Pregnancy & Lactation