morphine

(redirected from M.O.S.-S.R)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

morphine

morphine, principal derivative of opium, which is the juice in the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. It was first isolated from opium in 1803 by the German pharmacist F. W. A. Sertürner, who named it after Morpheus, the god of dreams. Given intravenously, it is still considered the most effective drug for the relief of pain.

See also drug addiction and drug abuse.

Effects and Uses

Morphine, a narcotic, acts directly on the central nervous system. Besides relieving pain, it impairs mental and physical performance, relieves fear and anxiety, and produces euphoria. It also decreases hunger, inhibits the cough reflex, produces constipation, and usually reduces the sex drive; in women it may interfere with the menstrual cycle.

Morphine is highly addictive. Tolerance (the need for higher and higher doses to maintain the same effect) and physical and psychological dependence develop quickly. Withdrawal from morphine causes nausea, tearing, yawning, chills, and sweating lasting up to three days. Morphine crosses the placental barrier, and babies born to morphine-using mothers go through withdrawal.

Today morphine is used medicinally for severe pain, cough suppression, and sometimes before surgery. It is seldom used illicitly except by doctors and other medical personnel who have access to the drug. It is injected, taken orally or inhaled, or taken through rectal suppositories. Methadone treatment has been useful in curing morphine addiction.

History

Morphine was first used medicinally as a painkiller and, erroneously, as a cure for opium addiction. It quickly replaced opium as a cure-all recommended by doctors and as a recreational drug and was readily available from drugstores or through the mail. Substitution of morphine addiction for alcohol addiction was considered beneficial by some physicians because alcohol is more destructive to the body and is more likely to trigger antisocial behavior. Morphine was used during the American Civil War as a surgical anesthetic and was sent home with many wounded soldiers for relief of pain. At the end of the war, over 400,000 people had the “army disease,” morphine addiction. The Franco-Prussian War in Europe had a similar effect.

In 1906 the Pure Food and Drug Act required accurate labeling of patent medicines and tonics. Various laws restricting the importation of opium were enacted, and the Harrison Narcotics Act (1914) prohibited possession of narcotics unless properly prescribed by a physician. Despite legislation, morphine maintained much of its popularity until heroin came into use, it in its turn believed to be a cure for morphine addiction.

Bibliography

See publications of the Drugs & Crime Data Center and Clearinghouse, the Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Morphine

 

an alkaloid of opium, a medicinal preparation of the group of analgesics.

Morphine hydrochloride is prescribed by physicians to relieve pain resulting from injuries and severe pain accompanying various diseases. It is also used in preparing a patient for surgery and in the postoperative period. Morphine is sometimes used to alleviate severe dyspnea owing to cardiac insufficiency. The prolonged use of morphine may result in addiction to the drug.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

morphine

[′mȯr‚fēn]
(pharmacology)
C17H19NO3·H2O A white crystalline narcotic powder, melting point 254°C, an alkaloid obtained from opium; used in medicine in the form of a hydrochloride or sulfate salt.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

morphine

, morphia
an alkaloid extracted from opium: used in medicine as an analgesic and sedative, although repeated use causes addiction. Formula: C17H19NO3
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005