Tuesday, June 17, 2008 mark, Community Member, asks

Q: what is an equal alternative to morphine as a narcotic for chronic pain?

I do not like the side effects of morphine.  I know there are other narcotics for use in control of chronic pain.  My doctor just seems hell bent on morphine/kadian now.  What else is there and how do I get my doctor to change?

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Answers (2)
Casey McNulty, Health Guide
6/17/08 5:44pm

Hi Mark,


Thank you for your question. As you mentioned, there are several narcotics available for the treatment of chronic pain. It is important to discuss the side effects that you're experiencing with your doctor so that he or she can try to find the medication that will work best for you. Codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, methadone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone are all used in the treatment of chronic pain, though not all these options may be appropriate for your needs. You can find more information on all of these medications at www.healthline.com/drug_directory.

Best of luck,


JB, Editor
6/17/08 5:10pm

Mark, don't be afraid to stand up for yourself.

Tell you doctor about your concerns about the morphine and ask if there is something else you can try. If your doctor refuses to discuss this with you, then you may need to find another doctor.


It helps if you go to your doctor with a list of drugs to ask about (as you asked for).


You might want to ask about opioids. Morphine is an opiate, meaning it was derived from the natural opium plant (the poppy). But opiod are synthetic drugs that work like opiates.


Tramadol is a painkiller that is not derived from opium like morphine is. It is not as addictive, but dependence and abuse have been reported. It can cause nausea and severe itching. Tramdol also comes in combination with acetaminophen.


There's also oxycodone (brand names: Percodan, Percocet, Roxicodone, Oxycontin), hydrocodone (brand name: Vicodin), and oxymorphone (brand name: Numorphan), all of which you have probably heard of.


Ask you doctor about these and other alternatives to morphine. Work with your doctor to get the treatment that's best for you.

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By mark, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/17/14, First Published: 06/17/08