Morphine is a pain medication of the opiate family which is found naturally in a number of plants and animals, including humans. It acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to decrease the feeling of pain. It can be taken for both acute pain and chronic pain. It is frequently used for pain from myocardial infarction and during labor. It can be given by mouth, by injection into a muscle, by injection under the skin, intravenously, injection into the space around the spinal cord, or rectally.Maximum effect is reached after about 20 minutes when given intravenously and after 60 miNutes when given by mouth, while duration of effect is 3–7 hours.Long-acting formulations also exist.
Potentially serious side effects include decreased respiratory effort and low blood pressure.Morphine is addictive and prone to abuse.If the dose is reduced after long-term use, opioid withdrawal symptoms may occur. Common side effects include drowsiness, vomiting, and constipation. Caution is advised when used during pregnancy or breast feeding, as morphine may affect the baby.
Morphine was first isolated between 1803 and 1805 by Friedrich Sertürner.This is generally believed to be the first isolation of an active ingredient from a plant. Merck began marketing it commercially in 1827.Morphine was more widely used after the invention of the hypodermic syringe in 1853–1855. Sertürner originally named the substance morphium after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, as it has a tendency to cause sleep.
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