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Warning Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Bath Salts Abuse

How Long Does Morphine Stay In Your System?

Morphine is a narcotic pain medicine that is used for the management of moderate to severe pain. It acts on the central nervous system to alter the pain pathways and decrease the perception of pain. The drug is used for both acute and chronic cases of pain. Morphine is used orally, rectally, and in injectable forms like subcutaneous, IM, and IV. There are many adverse effects associated with the use of morphine. Drowsiness, vomiting, constipation, low blood pressure, and respiratory depression are some of the common side effects. Moreover, the drug carries a high potential for abuse and addiction.  It is classified as a Schedule II drug in the United State. It is important to take the doses in strict accordance with the doctor’s prescription.  The primary source from where morphine is obtained is opium poppy. Morphine takes some time to get cleared from the system after the last administration. The clearance ensures that body is free from any harmful effects of morphine.

How long does Morphine stay in your system?

The effects of Morphine last about 4 hours after the last administration. Though this time is highly variable and depends on the route of administration. The half-life of morphine ranges between 1.5-4 hours. However, many patients have reported a variation in the half-life of morphine. The duration effects  last for depends on the mode of administration. When it is injected epidurally for anesthesia purposes, the half-life is about 39-249 minutes. It is shorter than intravenous or intramuscular administration of the drug. Only 4% of the drug is able to reach the brain. After the intrathecal injection, the distribution time is 15-30 minutes and a half-life is about 42 to 136 minutes.

The euphoric effects of morphine continue for about 4-6 hours after the last dose. The onset of effects starts in about 15 to 60 minutes. Another thing to note is that in elderly people the effects stay for longer durations due to a poor metabolism and a long time for clearance is taken by the drug.

Factors that influence how long Morphine stays in your system

There are a number of factors that can influence the elimination of drug from the system. These influential factors must be considered when calculating the time for excretion of morphine.

Individual Factors: Two individuals who have taken same doses simultaneously will excrete the drug at different times. This is due to a number of factors that dictate the clearance time.

  • Age:As the person ages, the body becomes less capable of efficiently performing its functions. People above the age of 65 have reported a prolonged time interval for the clearance of drug.
  • Body Size: People having a larger body size tend to metabolize and excrete the drug at faster rates in comparison to individuals with a small body size. The body size is determined by height and weight of the person.
  • Genetics:The genetics play an important role in regulating the functions of enzymes. Some people have a genetic composition that leads to the production of more efficient protein molecules that make up the various enzymes. Such people will exhibit a faster metabolism.
  • Urinary pH: A low pH can enhance the rate of excretion while an alkaline pH can delay the process. It is due to the fact that alkaline pH promotes the reabsorption and recirculation of the drug through the body.

Frequency: A person who has taken morphine just once is more likely to clear it within a few hours duration in comparison to a person who frequently abuses morphine. This occurs because morphine tends to accumulate in the body of long-term users. Frequent users consume the second dose before their first dose has undergone excretion so it keeps adding more burden on the liver and kidneys as they work harder for metabolism and excretion.

Co-administration of drugs: There are many drugs that can enhance or inhibit the metabolism of morphine. It is due to their action on the same enzymes involved in the hepatic metabolism of morphine. The speed of metabolism becomes altered and the half-life either gets extended or reduced. Any medication in simultaneous use for any other disorder must be discussed with the doctor.

Dosages: The dosages also affect the duration morphine stays in the body for. The high doses of morphine take their toll on the health of liver and kidney. More concentration of hepatic enzymes will be needed to metabolize the heavy doses. This can even lead to an impairment of liver functions and accumulation of drug within the body.

Morphine absorption, metabolism, and excretion:

Morphine gets absorbed into the blood through multiple modes of administration. Orally it is taken in the form of capsules or tablets. Suppositories are also used for the rectal administration. Intravenous, subcutaneous, and inhalation are other routes of administration.

Once morphine enters the blood circulation, it is taken to the liver where a large proportion of the drug gets broken down through a process called first-pass metabolism. Due to this effect, only 40-50% of the drug is able to reach the central nervous system. In case of oral ingestion, peak levels are reached within 30 minutes and after the subcutaneous injection, peak levels are obtained within 20 minutes. During the hepatic metabolism, 60% of the drug is converted into morphine-3-glucuronide and the other 6% is converted into morphine-6-glucuronide. Small quantities of Hydromorphone, codeine, and normorphine are also formed. Normorphine can be neurotoxic. Morphine-6-glucuronide (M6G) is produced in fewer quantities than morphine-3-glucuronide but it is pharmacologically more active and potent than parent chemical. 10:1 is the ratio between M6G and M3G.

About 90% of the morphine is excreted through the kidneys. It is completed in about 24 hours of the last dose.

Different types of Morphine drug tests

There are a number of tests that can be used for the detection of morphine in the samples. Some of the testing modalities used for morphine include urine tests, blood tests, hair test, and salivary analysis.

  • Urine Tests:The major excretory route of Morphine is through kidneys and drug levels can be detected in the urine samples within 24 hours of the last dose. A small amount is excreted as unchanged morphine while the maximum amount is in the form of metabolites. The result stays positive for 2 to 3 days in cases of prolonged abuse of drug. Urine tests are the routinely performed tests due to the convenience and a non-invasive technique.
  • Blood Tests:The blood tests provide accurate information about the levels of drug in the body. They are used in hospital settings for admitted patients in cases of overdose and intoxication or if providing an adequate urine sample with proper sterilization protocol is not convenient for a patient due to any ailment. The window of detection is about 12 hours. The peak levels are reached within an hour following an oral ingestion and 5 minutes in cases of IV administration of Morphine.
  • Hair tests: The hair analysis is another useful method for testing morphine. About 20-50 hair follicles from the scalp of a person are collected that should be at least 3-6cm in length. Even a single strand is capable of determining the drug levels after 90 days of the last ingested dose of the drug. A major drawback is the lack of evidence on recent ingestion as the drug takes some time to get accumulated so hair tests are not performed in acute cases of drug use.
  • Salivary Tests: Salivary tests are performed by the collection of oral fluid samples and sent to the laboratory. Though the levels can be detected within few hours of last ingestion but the window of detection is short. The results are not so much reliable and cannot give an accurate estimation of the amount of ingested drug.

Tips to clear Morphine from the system faster:

There are many techniques that can be adopted to enhance the rate of metabolism and excretion of the drug from the system. These must be implemented after a medical consultation. The efficacy of these tips can vary from individuals and different results can be achieved.

  • The first step is to cease the use of drug. This is a very agonizing step for the long-term users due to various symptoms that appear during the withdrawal period. It should be carried out under a proper medical supervision.
  • Hydration is also necessary. Adequate water intake should be ensured as it improves the urinary flow rate and helps to eliminate the drug faster from the body.
  • The medicines or supplements that can enhance the efficiency of hepatic enzymes are other alternative methods to speed-up the hepatic metabolism of morphine.
  • Activated charcoal can be administered to stop the absorption of the drug.
  • Acidification of urine is a useful step to improve the clearance of drug from the system. It can be done with the help of certain food and supplements. However, immense care should be taken not to over-acidify as it can do a lot more harm.