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Oral morphine (Oramorph®) for children and young people to take home

Introduction

This leaflet has been written for parents and carers about how to give morphine to their child at home. The information on this leaflet may be different from the information found with the medicine, because this is usually for adult patients. Keep this leaflet in a safe place so you can read it again.

What is morphine?

Morphine is a strong pain killer, used to treat moderate to severe pain in children after illness, injury or surgery.

When should I give morphine?

You should give your child morphine if they continue to have pain, despite having had their regular pain medicines (usually Paracetamol and Ibuprofen). Only give morphine when it is required, and only for pain.

How much morphine should I give?

Your doctor will work out the correct amount of morphine your child should be given. This will be written on the label—it is important that you only give the dose prescribed by your doctor. The dose can be repeated every four hours.

How should I give it?

Oral morphine (Oramorph®) is a liquid medicine. You should measure out the correct amount with the syringe or medicine spoon provided. It is important that you do not use a kitchen spoon as it will not give you the right amount.

When will morphine start working?

Your child should start to feel less pain within one hour of taking morphine.

What if my child is still in pain?

Make sure that your child has had their regular pain medicines, prescribed by your doctor (usually Paracetamol & Ibuprofen).

If, despite having had regular pain medicines and a dose of oral morphine your child is still in pain, contact your doctor.

What if I give too much?

If you think you have given your child too much morphine contact your doctor straight away.

If your child seems very sleepy, has problems with their breathing or stops breathing, your child may have had too much morphine—call an ambulance immediately.

Take the medication bottle with you, even if it is empty. It will be useful for the doctor to see.

Are there any side effects?

Most children taking morphine get constipated (difficulty doing a poo). You can help by encouraging your child to drink lots of fluids. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines that will help them go to the toilet.

Some children feel sick or are sick (vomit) when taking morphine. If this happens, contact your doctor who may prescribe a medicine to help.

Some children have difficulty passing urine (doing a wee) when taking morphine. Inform your doctor if this happens.

Your child may get headaches, a dry mouth, sweaty or skin flushing (red skin). They may also feel dizzy or lightheaded when standing.

Can other medicines be given at the same time?

You can give your child Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.

Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child.

Where should I keep this medicine?

Keep this medicine in a cupboard away from heat and direct sunlight. Make sure that children cannot see it, or reach it.

How should I dispose of left over morphine?

Please take any leftover morphine to your local pharmacy, where they will dispose of it safely.

Do not share, or give the medication to anyone other than your child. The dose of morphine is calculated by weight; therefore it could be dangerous if you give the medication to anyone other than your child.

What happens if I run out?

We do not expect your child to need morphine for their pain for longer than 1–3 days. As the surgical site heals, your child’s pain will reduce and it is unlikely that they will continue to need strong pain killers like morphine.

If your child’s level of pain gets worse, or does not start to get better please contact your doctor.

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