Morphine infusion

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Key points

  • a morphine infusion will keep your child free from pain
  • the nurses do regular observations to make sure that your child is safe and comfortable

What is it?

A morphine infusion is a method where a pump is used to deliver pain relieving medicine continuously.

How does it work?

At the end of your child’s operation, when they are in the theatre recovery room, a nurse will connect the morphine infusion pump to their intravenous line (IV line).  If your child is not comfortable despite the morphine infusion, the nurse is able to give your child an extra dose of the morphine.  The morphine infusion pump is computerised and programmed by the doctors and nurses before being attached to your child’s IV line. This means the pump won’t give your child too much medication. 

How safe is it?

A morphine infusion is very safe.  The nurses do regular observations to ensure that your child is safe and comfortable.

Who will make sure the morphine infusion is working?

The ward nurse will monitor (keep an eye on) your child’s morphine infusion.  If there are any problems they will contact the specialist nurse or doctor.

Are there any side effects?

Sometimes the morphine can make your child feel sick, itchy or sleepy.  If this happens, your child will be given medication to stop these side effects from happening. This may be pills or syrup that they can swallow or through their IV line. Occasionally the specialist nurse or doctor will change the morphine to another morphine-like drug (fentanyl or oxycodone), if the side effects continue to be a problem.

Can my child become addicted to morphine?


When morphine is used for a short time for pain control after an operation your child will not become addicted.


Starship Foundation and the Paediatric Society of New Zealand acknowledge the co-operation of the Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland District Health Board in making this fact sheet available to patients and families.

This page last reviewed 12 March 2013
© Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation 2005 – 2015
Printed on 31 March 2015. Content is regularly updated so please refer to for the most up-to-date version
Content endorsed by the Paediatric Society of New Zealand