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Medications Used in Morphine Detox


Morphine is a prescription pain killer used to treat severe pain. Although it is a highly effective pain killer, it is also a highly addictive one. Fortunately, there are medications used to treat morphine withdrawal and to help you through morphine detox.

Common Drugs Used for Morphine Detox

According to the Mayo Clinic these drugs are methadone, Suboxone, buprenorphine, and Naltrexone. Although these drugs are similar each has a slightly different effect.

Doctors prescribe the drug that is right for you and your addiction at a detox or a treatment center.

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Doctors started using methadone to treat morphine withdrawal along with chronic pain around 56 years ago. It works as a substitute for morphine in the brain effectively blocking the morphine at the receptor site. When the morphine is blocked, it no longer produces the euphoric effect that many people are addicted to.


Morphine Detox

Medication makes morphine detox less uncomfortable and more manageable for the patient.

Buprenorphine is like methadone in that it relieves pain and stops the withdrawal symptoms. Unlike methadone, it is weaker and has a ceiling effect. The ceiling effect is when the maximum benefit of a drug is reached. You cannot feel additional effects by taking more of the drug. This is known to deter overuse and overdose.


Suboxone is a combination drug. It contains buprenorphine and naloxone. The buprenorphine works similar to methadone as both a pain reliever and a way to stop withdrawal symptoms. Unlike methadone, Suboxone contains naloxone. This drug completely blocks the morphine at the receptor site and causes instant withdrawal, this withdrawal is arrested by the buprenorphine in Suboxone. Naloxone is often used in overdose cases.


Naltrexone is usually only used after the initial detox. It does not help a patient detox but does help them avoid relapse by blocking opioids in the brain, particularly when they are injected, according to the Food and Drug Administration. This once a month injection helps people stay off morphine during and after drug treatment.

Supportive Medications

Doctors often also prescribe supportive medications to stop or prevent breakthrough symptoms that the above drugs allow through and to prevent the side effects of these medications. These supportive medications are:

  • anti-emetics – to stop vomiting
  • anti-nausea medications – to stop the feelings of nausea
  • anti-diarrheal medications – to stop diarrhea
  • anti-anxiety medications – to control mood swings and anxiety
  • anti-depressants – to control the depression that is common in morphine withdrawal
  • blood pressure medications – to control high blood pressure associated with detox
  • anti-consultants – to prevent seizures

These are all medications that help to stop the unpleasant breakthrough symptoms and side effects associated with the medications that actually treat morphine withdrawal.

Finding a Treatment Center for Morphine Detox

In order to take advantage of any of these medications, you will need to find a qualified treatment center. The treatment center should be capable of dealing with both the withdrawal and the side effects of the medications used in morphine detoxification. To find such a treatment center call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) .


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2015). Prescription Drug Abuse.
  2. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2015). Naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension (marketed as Vivitrol) Information.
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