If you’re experiencing moderate to severe pain due to acute or chronic illness, your doctor may decide that prescription morphine can help relieve your discomfort.

Understanding Morphine and Common Uses

As a pain medication in the opiod analgesic family, morphine acts on the central nervous system directly. Because of its efficacy and potency, morphine is included on the List of Essential Medicines by the World Health Organization. While its availability and administration are carefully regulated, it is considered a safe and suitable medication for many situations when used properly.

Morphine is used to make other opioid medication and may be sold under a variety of brand names. This medication and its derivatives are most commonly administered orally or intravenously. Depending on the brand and method of dosing, morphine’s pain-relieving effects can last between 4 to 24 hours.

Concerns and Risk Factors for Morphine Use

Because morphine is a narcotic, which means it is a substance that impacts mood and behavior, its use is heavily regulated to prevent abuse or dangerous side effects. As noted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the use of opiates can become addictive and improper use can lead to overdose or other health complications.

If your doctor prescribes morphine for your pain, talk to them about warning signs for side effects and what to expect when taking this medication. Your doctor may monitor your use carefully to be sure you do not develop an addiction. They may also schedule prescriptions in successively lower doses to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Despite concerns and risk factors associated with morphine, healthcare professionals consider it a safe and effective medicine when used according to prescribed dosage amounts and timing.

Medicare Part A and Part B Coverage for Morphine

Medicare coverage for medication administered during a hospital stay is typically covered through Medicare Part A. If you are administered morphine in an outpatient setting, Medicare Part B may provide coverage for morphine in that instance.

In these settings, morphine is most likely to be administered via an infusion or an injection. The associated risks of using morphine are lessened by being in a clinical environment, which means Medicare may not enforce a dosage limit as is sometimes the case with prescriptions meant to be taken at home. It’s important to note that there will still be copayments, coinsurance or deductible costs that need to be met in order for Medicare’s coverage to pay the rest of your healthcare costs.

Medicare Part D Coverage for Morphine

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) or Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage (MA-PD) can include morphine that you administer in the home. At-home administration typically involves oral medication like liquid solutions or capsules that have an extended-release effect.

Each PDP or MA-PD provides a formulary for you to review, which is a list of all the medications they cover. Because these can change from year to year, it’s important to stay updated on any medications you are prescribed to avoid being surprised by sudden out-of-pocket costs.

If you are prescribed morphine for use in the home, your Medicare coverage Part D coverage may impose certain checks and balances as a precaution. This can include an initial dosage limit if this is your first time being prescribed an opiate like morphine, or limitations on which pharmacy Medicare will approve of for filling the prescription.

Your doctor may help you coordinate with the pharmacy and with your Medicare provider in order to streamline this process. They may be able to provide appropriate documents to show medical necessity for expedited coverage determination if there is a delay due to these precautions.

If your provider approves generic forms of brand name medicines, you may be able to lower your out-of-pocket costs by asking your doctor to prescribe a generic medication.

Related articles:

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part D: Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage