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Kadian Overdose: Signs, Symptoms, & Dosage

Kadian Overdose: Signs, Symptoms, & Dosage

Kadian is the brand name for the extended-release (ER) version of morphine sulfate. This medication is intended to treat chronic pain that’s resistant to other forms of pain treatment. As with many opioids, Kadian has a high potential for abuse, addiction, and overdose. It should never be taken or administered without first attempting non-opioid alternatives or the prescription and guidance of a medical professional. 

For those who are taking this medication and need to be safer, our rehab in Texas is sharing more on Kadian overdose amounts, signs, and symptoms.  

What Are the Ingredients in Kadian?

Kadian contains morphine sulfate as its active ingredient. The medication also includes several inactive components such as hypromellose, ethylcellulose, methacrylic acid copolymer, polyethylene glycol, diethyl phthalate, talc, corn starch, and sucrose to aid in its delivery and effectiveness. For the composition of the capsule shells, ingredients like gelatin, silicon dioxide, sodium lauryl sulfate, and titanium dioxide are used, along with various dyes specific to different dosage amounts, such as D& C red #28, FD& C blue #1, D& C yellow #10, FD& C red #3, FD& C red #40, FD& C yellow #6, black iron oxide, yellow iron oxide, and red iron oxide. The ink used for imprinting the capsules contains black iron oxide, potassium hydroxide, propylene glycol, and shellac.

How Should Kadian Be Taken and What Are The Important Instructions For Its Administration?

Kadian must be used exactly as directed by your healthcare provider. Carefully adhere to the instructions provided on your prescription label, and review any medication guides or provided instruction sheets thoroughly. You should not adjust the dose or duration of use without consulting your physician. Alert your physician if you find yourself needing to increase the dose.

It is crucial not to share Kadian with others, particularly with individuals who have a history of substance abuse, as this can lead to addiction, overdose, or even death. Ensure this medication is stored in a secure place, inaccessible to others, and remember that distributing or selling this drug is illegal.

Do not alter the form of the Kadian capsule by crushing, chewing, or dissolving it, as it is designed for extended release. Altering the capsule could result in a dangerous or fatal dose. The capsule should be swallowed whole. If swallowing the capsule whole is problematic, it can be opened and the contents sprinkled onto a tablespoon of applesauce. Consume the applesauce mixture immediately without chewing the pellets, and make sure no medication is saved for future use. Dispose of the empty capsule right away by flushing it down the toilet.

Regularly check with your doctor to ensure the medication is effective, and report any worsening symptoms. Avoid ceasing Kadian use abruptly without your doctor's guidance due to the risk of withdrawal symptoms. Notify your healthcare provider if you are switching brands, strengths, or forms of this medication to effectively manage your treatment and to avoid dosing errors.

Dispose of any unused medication promptly. Holding onto leftover medicine raises the risk of accidental ingestion and overdose, which can be fatal. Inquire at your pharmacy regarding available drug take-back programs, or dispose of Kadian by flushing it down the toilet if no take-back options are available.

Store the medication in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, away from any sources of moisture, heat, and light. Ensure that the storage location is secure to prevent misuse or accidental use by others.

Can You Overdose on Morphine Sulfate (Kadian)? 

Kadian is a strong prescription painkiller that contains an opioid (narcotic) used to treat pain severe enough to require round-the-clock and long-term treatment.  

As a long-acting or extended-release medication, Kadian is only meant to be taken once or twice daily, as its effects last around 12 to 14 hours. Additionally, because it’s long-acting, this morphine sulfate medication also remains in the body for longer periods than shorter-acting medications like codeine or hydrocodone.  

Due to these characteristics, you can overdose on morphine sulfate (Kadian) if it’s taken more frequently or in higher doses than directed. A drug overdose occurs when a person takes too much of a substance, whether it’s prescription or not.  

Drug overdoses can occur accidentally or intentionally and may vary in severity depending on how much of the drug the person ingested. Individuals who take more than the recommended or prescribed dose of Kadian, or take it without a prescription, are at a higher risk of overdosing. 

How Much Morphine Sulfate to Overdose? 

The minimum lethal dose of Kadian is 120 mg, although patients who are more sensitive to the drug can overdose on Kadian after taking just 60 mg. Generally, however, the morphine sulfate overdose amount is 120 mg.  

Kadian is available in extended-release capsules containing doses of 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 50 mg, 60 mg, 80 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg. This medication is only intended for patients who are intolerant to other opioids or didn’t experience relief from their pain with other pain medications.  

Patients are considered qualified for Kadian use if they’ve been taking at least 60 mg of morphine daily for a week or longer. Patients are also considered morphine sulfate tolerant if they’ve taken 30 mg of oxycodone, 8 mg of hydrocodone, or the equivalent of other synthetic opioids for at least a week.  

Additionally, Kadian overdose is most likely to occur in the early stages of treatment when the patient first adjusts to the effects of the drug. The first one to three days is the highest risk period.  

For this reason, the use of Kadian without a prescription is strongly advised against. In addition to fatal overdose, Kadian abuse can lead to physical dependence and addiction, which can present other issues in all areas of a person’s life.  

If you or someone you care about has become addicted to Kadian or any other drug or alcohol, our Texas treatment center offers medically assisted detox and drug treatment that can help. Our opioid rehab program incorporates detox and psychotherapy to address the physical and psychological contributing factors of substance abuse.  

Kadian (Morphine Sulfate) Overdose Symptoms 

There are several risk factors for Kadian overdose, including the improper storage of drugs (which allows people who shouldn’t take them accessibility,) not knowing or following dosage directions, history of misuse or addiction, and mental illness. As we mentioned, overdose can occur accidentally – if a child were to accidentally ingest Kadian – or intentionally if a person ingests higher doses of the drug than recommended.  

It can occur in anyone, it’s important to look out for these signs and symptoms of Kadian overdose if you or a loved one in your household takes it:  

  • Nausea and/or vomiting 
  • Agitation 
  • Irritability 
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Poor coordination  
  • Drowsiness 
  • Unresponsive 
  • Aggression or violence  
  • Convulsions 
  • Hallucinations or delusions 
  • Enlarged pupils 
  • Tremors or shaking 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Slow heart rate 
  • Atypical snoring 
  • Blue or purple lips or fingernails  
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Cold, clammy skin 

If you recognize the signs of morphine sulfate overdose in yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately. Getting medical assistance quickly can reduce the risk of permanent damage and even death.  

What Are The Precautions And Considerations To Be Aware Of Before Taking Kadian?

When considering the use of Kadian, a type of extended-release morphine medication, it is essential to discuss your complete medical history and current health status with your healthcare provider to ensure your safety. Firstly, Kadian is contraindicated if you have a known allergy to morphine or other opioids. It should not be used if you are experiencing severe respiratory issues, such as severe asthma or breathing problems. Additionally, avoid Kadian if you have any blockages in your stomach or intestines, including conditions like paralytic ileus.

It is also crucial to avoid Kadian if you've used an MAO inhibitor within the last two weeks due to potential dangerous drug interactions. Examples of MAO inhibitors include medications like isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, and tranylcypromine.

Discuss with your doctor if you have a history of respiratory disorders such as COPD or sleep apnea, brain-related issues including tumors, head injuries, or increased intracranial pressure. It's equally important to mention if you have a history of substance misuse, mental health issues, seizures, urination problems, or diseases affecting the liver, kidneys, bile ducts, gallbladder, pancreas, thyroid, or adrenal glands.

Inform your doctor about all other medications you are taking, including stimulants, other opioids, herbal products, and prescriptions for depression, mental health disorders, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, serious infections, or anti-nausea treatments, as these could interact with morphine, potentially leading to serotonin syndrome, a serious and possibly fatal condition.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, discuss this with your doctor. Using morphine during pregnancy can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms in the newborn, which may require specialized, prolonged medical treatment. Furthermore, long-term use of Kadian could impact fertility in both men and women, possibly making it difficult to conceive.

Breastfeeding while on Kadian is advised against, as morphine can be transmitted through breast milk and may lead to life-threatening side effects in infants.

It is important to follow all guidelines provided by your healthcare provider and consider these precautions to ensure safe and effective use of Kadian.

What Should I Avoid While Taking Kadian?

When taking Kadian, it is essential to abstain from consuming alcohol as it may lead to severe side effects or even fatality. Caution is advised when engaging in activities that require full alertness, such as driving or operating machinery, until you are certain of how the medication affects your ability to perform these tasks safely. Sudden movements from sitting or lying down to standing should also be avoided, as they might result in dizziness.

What Should Be Done In Case A Dose Of Kadian Is Missed?

If you forget to take a dose of Kadian and it’s nearly time for your next scheduled dose, you should not take the missed dose. To avoid doubling up, simply continue with your regular dosing schedule and take the next dose at its usual time. It's not recommended to take two doses simultaneously.

How Does Fentanyl Compare to Heroin or Other Opiates?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is significantly stronger than many other opioids, including heroin and morphine. Specifically, fentanyl is estimated to be 100 times more potent than morphine and about 50 times more potent than heroin. While morphine and heroin derive from natural sources, fentanyl is manufactured in labs. Fentanyl's high potency makes it a critical pain management medication, legally prescribed in the United States under Schedule II for severe pain situations. In contrast, heroin has no legal medical use in the U.S. and is listed as a Schedule I drug, indicating a high potential for abuse.

What Other Drugs Can Affect The Effectiveness Of Kadian?

An extensive range of medications could interfere with the effectiveness of Kadian, an opioid medication. It is crucial to disclose all current medications to your healthcare provider, including those for managing conditions like allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders, and coughs. Additionally, combinations with other opioids, certain heart medications (such as verapamil and quinidine), sedatives (especially benzodiazepines like Valium or Xanax), muscle relaxants, and drugs that induce sleep should be approached with caution due to potential interactions. Furthermore, the interaction possibilities extend to over-the-counter products, vitamins, and herbal supplements, creating a comprehensive list that goes beyond the commonly acknowledged interactions listed here.

Which Drugs Can Cause Opioid-Induced Constipation?

Opioid-induced constipation can occur with the use of any opioid medications. Such drugs include, but are not limited to, morphine, tramadol, fentanyl, methadone, hydrocodone, codeine, and oxycodone. These medications are commonly prescribed for pain management and act on the nervous system, which can lead to constipation as a side effect.

Our facility also offers alumni services to ensure that our clients continue to receive support after rehab. For more information about our Texas drug and alcohol treatment, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763.   


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Desoxyn Overdose Symptoms 

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.