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What is Roxanol?

What is Roxanol?

Morphine sulfate is the most commonly used drug in the treatment of pain and shortness of breath in hospice or end-of-life care.

It’s a valuable tool in the hospice setting to provide relief to those in their last stages of life. So what is Roxanol? Today we’re going to be looking into how Roxanol works, its side effects, and its potential for addiction. 

What Exactly Is Roxanol?

Roxanol is the brand name for morphine sulfate, which is a narcotic that’s used to treat moderate to severe pain. Roxanol belongs to the class of drugs called opioids and works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and body to block pain signaling.

Although Roxanol may be used in hospice, it’s also prescribed to patients with severe pain who do not experience relief from other opioids or medications. Roxanol is available in both immediate-release and extended-release tablets, capsules, granules that dissolve in water, a liquid to swallow, an injection, and a suppository. 

Extended-release tablets are prescribed to patients with pain severe enough to require daily, long-term, and round-the-clock treatment, as well as when other opioids don’t work well enough or can’t be tolerated. The usual oral Roxanol dosage for an adult is 10 to 30 mg every 4 hours or as directed by a physician. 

Dosage is dependent on the patient’s condition, so the dose may be higher or lower depending on the severity of the person’s pain. Keep in mind that Roxanol is not meant for people who feel pain every once in a while or to relieve mild pain. 

It should not be used as needed, either. Roxanol is addictive, and long-term use can lead to tolerance and physical dependence. Roxanol abuse, such as taking higher doses than prescribed or mixing it with alcohol or other drugs, increases your risk of dependence, addiction, and overdose, as well. 

If you’re taking Roxanol for pain relief and notice that the usual dose isn’t as effective as it once was, don’t take more without speaking to your doctor first. Your tolerance to the drug may have increased, so you have to speak to them about either switching medications or changing the dose you take. Do not increase your Roxanol dosage without consulting your doctor, as it can lead to dependence and possibly addiction.  

Roxanol Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, such as pain relief, Roxanol can also produce some unwanted effects. Although not all of the side effects are guaranteed to occur, they are common among morphine users and do require medical attention. 

Common side effects of Roxanol include: 
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation 
  • Visual disturbances
  • Weakness 
  • Headache 
  • Skin rash
  • Itching
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing

Another possible reaction of Roxanol is euphoria or a “high.” It’s possible to get high off Roxanol because of its effects on dopamine. 

The drug stimulates the release of this chemical, flooding the brain with dopamine in one shot. This sensation is most common among people who abuse Roxanol by taking higher doses than prescribed or mixing it with alcohol or other substances. 

Although doing so produces a high, taking higher doses of Roxanol than you’re prescribed also increases your risk of becoming addicted to the drug by producing dependence, as well as overdose. To avoid any adverse side effects, make sure to take morphine and any other medication as prescribed and directed by your doctor. 

If you experience any of the side effects above, speak to your doctor. They may be able to switch your medication or dose to prevent these reactions. 

Signs of Roxanol Abuse

Addiction to morphine, or any drug, will drastically change the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. A person with a Roxanol addiction will display a variety of physical and psychological signs indicating a problem with drug use. 

Below are common signs of Roxanol abuse to look out for if you know someone who’s taking this medication. 
Physical signs of morphine addiction: 
  • Impaired motor movement and coordination
  • Decreased hunger and weight loss
  • Stopped or irregular menstrual cycle
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms from no longer taking the substance (physical dependence)

Behavioral signs of morphine addiction: 
  • Doctor shopping to obtain more than one prescription
  • Claiming to lose prescriptions to get more
  • Lying or stealing to acquire more of the drug
  • Hiding or using the drug in secret
  • Concealing the substance in different places around the house to avoid detection 
  • Continued use despite being aware of the consequences 

Emotional/psychological signs of morphine addiction: 
  • Euphoria
  • Sedation
  • Impaired mental performance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Preoccupation with the drug
  • Impaired judgment 
  • Inability to pay attention to surroundings

Roxanol Overdose Symptoms

People with a morphine addiction will become preoccupied with getting their next fix no matter the impact it’s having on their lives. Their performance at school, work, and home might decline, and they may face legal and financial troubles as a direct result of their drug addiction. 

It’s also vital to know the signs of Roxanol overdose, as those with an addiction to the drug are at an increased risk of overdosing due to continued abuse. A Roxanol overdose may produce symptoms like:  
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Blue-tinted lips, fingernails, and skin
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Slowed heart rate 
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Lack of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

As a central nervous system depressant, morphine reduces vital functions like breathing and heart rate, a danger that’s emphasized when the drug is taken in fatally high doses. Arguably the most dangerous symptom of opioid overdose is respiratory depression, as the person’s breathing may fail, leading to a coma or death. 

If you notice the signs of Roxanol overdose in someone, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Help for Opioid Addiction and Abuse

Undergoing opioid detox and treatment is crucial for long-term recovery from opioid addiction of any kind. As one of the most commonly abused drugs in the nation, opioids are difficult to recover from without the care of addiction specialists. 

In addition to medically monitored detox, our Heartland drug rehab also offers inpatient substance abuse treatment in Illinois that allows patients to live at our facility to help them concentrate on their recovery and avoid distractions. Patients will work one-on-one with counselors and participate in group therapy sessions to better understand their conditions, the underlying causes of their addictions and develop relapse prevention skills to help them sustain long-term sobriety. 

Recovery is possible for everyone, no matter how long they’ve struggled with addiction. For more information about our drug rehab in Illinois, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763. 

Related Reading: 
Fact or Fiction: Unveiling Morphine Myths
Effects of Morphine on the Brain
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
What is Roxanol?
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