MS Contin

Generic name: Morphine sulfate.

Other brand names: Astramorph, Duramorph, MSIR, Oramorph SR, RMS, Roxanol, Roxanol SR.

MS Contin is a narcotic analgesic. It relieves pain and gives a feeling of well-being. 

Quick Facts About MS Contin


Used to relieve moderate to severe pain. For people needing a morphine painkiller for more than a few days.

MS Contin Dosage

Take exactly as prescribed, swallowing tablets whole. Crushing or chewing tablet releases dangerously high level of morphine into your bloodstream at once. May take time for medication to have an effect; do not increase dosage or take more often than prescribed.

  • Usual adult dose: based on individual needs due to high potency of this medication.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed for children.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

MS Contin Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

cold and clammy skin, flaccid muscles, lowered blood pressure, pinpoint pupils, sleepiness leading to stupor and coma, slowed breathing, slow pulse rate. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention. Overdose can be fatal.

Most dangerous potential side effect: respiratory depression (dangerously slow breathing). More common side effects: constipation, depressed or irritable mood, dizziness, exaggerated sense of well-being, light-headedness, nausea, sedation, sweating, vomiting. Some side effects may be reduced by lying down.

Less common MS Contin side effects: agitation, appetite loss, apprehension, blurred vision, chills, constipation, cramps, depression, diarrhea, difficult urination, disorientation, double vision, dreams, dry mouth, facial flushing, fainting, faintness, floating feeling, hallucinations, headache, high blood pressure, hives, inability to urinate, insomnia, involuntary movement of the eyeball, itching, low blood pressure, mood changes, nervousness, pinpoint pupils, rapid heartbeat rash, rigid muscles, seizure, sexual drive or performance problems, slow heartbeat, sweating, swelling due to fluid retention, taste alterations, throbbing heartbeat, tingling or pins and needles, tremor, uncoordinated muscle movements, vision disturbances, weakness. Withdrawal symptoms after long use of MS Contin: dilated pupils, goose bumps, restlessness, restless sleep, runny nose, sweating, tearing, yawning. Withdrawal symptoms after 72 hours: abdominal and leg pains, abdominal and muscle cramps, anxiety, diarrhea, hot and cold flashes, inability to fall or stay asleep, increase in body temperature, increase in blood pressure and breathing, increase in heart rate, kicking movements, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, nausea, severe backache, sneezing, twitching and muscle spasms, vomiting, weakness. Withdrawal symptoms after 1 to 2 weeks: aching muscles, insomnia, and irritability lasting for 2 to 6 months.


Inform your doctor before combining MS Contin with:

certain analgesics such as Talwin, Nubain, Stadol, and Buprenex; major tranquilizers such as Thorazine and Phenergan; muscle relaxants such as Flexeril and Valium; sedatives such as Dalmane and Halcion; tranquilizers such as Librium and Xanax.

Do not drink alcohol while taking MS Contin. 

Special Cautions

If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. If taken during close to birth of baby, baby may experience breathing problems, and may also suffer withdrawal symptoms. Appears in breast milk, do not take while breastfeeding, baby may experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking MS Contin.

Seniors may be at risk for respiratory depression.

Not generally prescribed for children.

  • Do not take if sensitive to or allergic to morphine, or if you have bronchial asthma.
  • May cause drowsiness and impair your ability to drive a car or operate machinery. Do not take part in any activity that requires alertness.
  • Use with extreme caution if you have: alcoholism, coma, curvature of the spine, delirium tremens (severe alcohol withdrawal), drug-related psychosis, enlarged prostate or constricted urinary canal, kidney disorder, liver disorder, low adrenaline levels, lung disorder, swallowing difficulty.
  • Can increase risk of seizure if epileptic.
  • May be at risk for respiratory depression if you have a lung or breathing problem.
  • If you have abnormally slow breathing, should not take unless there is access to resuscitation equipment.
  • Should not take if you have intestinal blockage, brain injury, or abdominal problem requiring surgery.
  • Use cautiously if you are having biliary tract surgery; may worsen condition.
  • May experience dizziness upon standing, due to lowered blood pressure.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or MS Contin side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.