What Is Stronger: Morphine or Hydrocodone?


Quick Answer

Morphine and hydrocodone are listed as equivalents, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the effectiveness of either drug depends on a number of variables, including dosage and how it is given.

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Full Answer

Both morphine and hydrocodone are pain-relieving medications. These drugs are opioids, which are derived from the poppy seed. The use of both is highly regulated in the medical industry as opioids can be addictive. They tend to slow the breathing rate and can lead to death in the event of an overdose.

The CDC lists morphine and hydrocodone as equivalents, meaning they provide roughly the same amount of pain relief. However, there are other factors that can affect how well the drug actually works. Hydrocodone is not available for use intravenously, while morphine is available for intravenous use, as stated by MedPage Today. An injection of morphine directly into the blood means that patients can get relief that much sooner. Overall, both morphine and hydrocodone are equivalents in pain relief when given in oral dosages.

Morphine has a low bio-availability when taken orally compared to hydrocodone. This means that less morphine gets into the bloodstream to get to the central nervous system. Yet, this is counterbalanced by the slightly increased potency of hydrocodone. This leads the medical profession to consider both drugs to be equally effective at relieving pain when taken orally.

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