Understanding the potential side effects of morphine

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2015 | Medication Errors

Morphine is one of the most common medications used to address serious pain management needs for New Mexico patients. However, this strong narcotic medication can be dangerous in excessive quantities. Unfortunately, the need for the initial administration of morphine may occur in a setting that is less than ideal. For example, morphine may be used to manage pain immediately after a major surgery such as joint replacement or spinal fusion. While the pump administration of this drug is regulated through programming, an error in that programming or inaccuracy in administering other drugs to help in managing post-surgical symptoms could lead to serious difficulties.

It is helpful to be aware of common side effects of morphine before the use of this drug occurs. Some of these include constipation, drowsiness and cramps. These typically don’t require medical attention although a stool softener might be offered by nursing staff to help with bowel movements. Some less common side effects include agitation, depression, halos around the lights, muscle stiffness, skin rash and uncontrolled eye movements. These might seem serious enough to warrant attention, and a discussion with a health care provider might be wise to ensure that these are not signs of an allergy or other serious problem.

Issues such as vomiting, dizziness and itching may warrant prompt attention. If these occur in a hospital setting, an on-call nurse may be able to identify whether any unusual or severe symptoms are signs of an allergic reaction or overdose. A patient or their advocate might be able to discuss alternative pain medications to see if the symptoms resolve as morphine is stopped.

An individual who suffers permanent physical injuries due to an overdose or allergic reaction to morphine might have grounds for initiating a medical malpractice claim. A lawyer might proceed based on evidence of negligent behavior on the part of medical staff responsible for monitoring the patient’s vital signs and administering medications.


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