Morphine Intravenous for Adults

Who can administer

Administration RESTRICTED - see Appendix 1

Important information

  • In GUH, morphine is usually given by the subcutaneous route at ward level
  • Morphine is used intravenously at ward level as Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA)
  • In GUH, it is generally in Critical Care areas that it is given by the intravenous route
  • All morphine preparations stocked are controlled drugs
  • For Y-site compatibility see below

Available preparations


Drug  Strength  Stocked in
Morphine Sulphate 1mg per 1ml ampoule (Preservative free) (Martindale brand) Preferred product when Morphine 1mg preservative-free is required 
Morphine HYDROCHLORIDE 1mg per 1ml ampoule (Preservative free) Martindale brand)  Gynae, Labour Ward and Major Theatres - only when preferred product (above) is not available
Morphine Sulphate 1mg per 1ml ampoule (Preservative free) (South Devon Healthcare brand) Neo-natal ICU ward only - when preferred product (above) is not available
Morphine Sulphate 10mg per 1ml ampoule All areas 
Morphine Sulphate  30mg per 1ml ampoule (for use in infusion only) On request only in specific circumstances
Morphine Sulphate 60mg per 1ml ampoule (for use in infusion only) Critical care areas and other areas if PCA bags in short supply
Morphine Sulphate 100mg in 100ml PCA bags Critical care, surgical wards, X-ray 


Already in solution

Draw up using a 5 micron filter needle (ampoules)

Infusion fluids

Sodium chloride 0.9%

Glucose 5%

Methods of intravenous administration

Slow intravenous injection

  • Dilute to a convenient volume: suggest draw up 1ml (10mg) and dilute with 9ml Sodium chloride 0.9% to produce a 1mg per 1ml injection solution
  • Administer required dose over 4 to 5 minutes (ref 1)
  • Maximum rate of administration: 1 to 2mg per minute (ref 2)

Continuous intravenous infusion

  • See 'Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) for Adult Patients' on Q-Pulse CLN-NM-047
  • For critical care areas- dilute with infusion fluid as per CIS

Dose in adults

  • See individual policies
  • Use 10mg/ml strength ampoules only for all the indications below (to reduce risk of overdose)
  • The higher strength ampoules are used in the preparation of infusions

Acute pain

  • Give 5mg every four hours, adjusted according to response.  Dose can be given more frequently during titration.
  • Elderly and frail patients: Reduced dose recommended

Myocardial infarction (ref 2)

  • Usual dose: give 5 to 10mg, followed by 5 to 10mg if required
  • Elderly or frail patients: give 2.5 to 5mg, followed by 2.5 to 5mg if required 

Acute pulmonary oedema (ref 2)

  • Usual dose: Usual dose: give 5 to 10mg
  • Elderly or frail patients: give 2.5 to 5mg

Renal impairment

  • Avoid or use reduced dose in moderate to severe renal impairment (opioid effects increased, and prolonged and increased cerebral sensitivity occurs)

 Hepatic impairment

  • Use with caution as metabolised by the liver


  • Monitor blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate (ref 1)
  • Monitor the patient for one hour post dose if this is their first dose of morphine (ref 1)


Store in controlled drug cupboard below 25°C


1. Injectable Medicines Guide Medusa, downloaded 12/01/22

2. BNF- via  Medicinescomplete 12/01/22

Therapeutic classification

Opioid analgesic

IV Guide Type