MS Contin

MS Contin relieves severe pain. Can cause constipation. Avoid alcohol while on this medication.

MS Contin Overview


MS Contin is a prescription medication used to treat severe pain that is expected to persist for an extended period of time.

belonging to a group of drugs called opioid narcotics. These work by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.

MS Contin is available as an extended-release tablet and is typically taken 2-3 times a day.

Swallow MS Contin tablets whole. Do not chew, break, crush, or dissolve tablets. 

Common side effects of MS Contin include constipation, nausea, itchiness, and sleepiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how MS Contin affects you. Do not drink alcohol or any foods or medications containing alcohol while taking MS Contin as alcohol increases the risk that you will experience breathing problems or other serious, life-threatening side effects.

How was your experience with MS Contin?

First, a little about yourself

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What tips would you provide a friend before taking MS Contin?

What are you taking MS Contin for?

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  • Other
  • Dyspnea
  • Pain, Intractable

How long have you been taking it?

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  • Less than a week
  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
  • A year or so
  • Two years or more

How well did MS Contin work for you?

Did you experience many side effects while taking this drug?

How likely would you be to recommend MS Contin to a friend?

MS Contin Cautionary Labels


Uses of MS Contin

MS Contin is a prescription medication used to treat severe pain. It is useful for around-the-clock, long-term pain.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 


MS Contin Drug Class

MS Contin is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of MS Contin

MS Contin may cause serious side effects. See "MS Contin Drug Precautions".

Common side effects of MS Contin include:

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • dry mouth
  • sweating
  • weakness
  • headache
  • agitation
  • nervousness
  • mood changes
  • confusion
  • small pupils (black circles in the middle of the eyes)
  • flu symptoms
  • difficulty urinating or pain when urinating

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms and they are severe.

Get emergency medical help if you have:

  • trouble breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • fast heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • swelling of your face
  • tongue or throat
  • extreme drowsiness, or you are feeling faint

These are not all the possible side effects of MS Contin. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. 

MS Contin Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medications you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
  • antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil)
  • antihistamines (found in cold and allergy medications)
  • beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), labetalol (Normodyne), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), and propranolol (Inderal)
  • buprenorphine (Butrans, Subutex, in Suboxone)
  • butorphanol (Stadol)
  • cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • diuretics ('water pills')
  • medications for anxiety, seizures, depression, mental illness, or nausea
  • monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, including isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), procarbazine (Matulane), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • muscle relaxants
  • nalbuphine (Nubain)
  • other narcotic pain medications
  • pentazocine (Talwin)
  • quinidine  
  • sedatives, sleeping pills, or tranquilizers

This is not a complete list of MS Contin drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

MS Contin Precautions

MS Contin may be habit-forming. Take this medication as prescribed. Do not take more of it, or take it more often than as directed by your doctor. There is a greater risk that you will overuse MS Contin if you have or have ever had depression or another mental illness, or if you have abused alcohol, used street drugs, or overused prescription medications.

Do not allow anyone else to take your medication. Keep this medication out of the reach of children and in a safe place so that no one else can take it as MS Contin may harm or cause death to other people who take your medication, especially children. 

MS Contin may cause slowed or stopped breathing, especially when you begin your treatment and any time your dose is increased. Tell your doctor if you have slowed breathing and if you have or have ever had lung disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; a group of diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema that cause difficulty breathing), or other breathing problems. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment: slowed breathing, long pauses between breaths, or shortness of breath.

Taking certain other medications during your treatment with MS Contin may increase the risk that you will experience breathing problems or other serious, life-threatening side effects.

Important information about MS Contin:

  • Get emergency help right away if you take too much MS Contin (overdose). MS Contin overdose can cause life threatening breathing problems that can lead to death.
  • Never give anyone else your MS Contin. They could die from taking it. Store MS Contin away from children and in a safe place to prevent stealing or abuse.
  • Selling or giving away MS Contin is against the law. MS Contin is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence.

Do not take MS Contin if you have:

  • severe asthma, trouble breathing, or other lung problems.
  • a bowel blockage or have narrowing of the stomach or intestines.

While taking MS Contin do not:

  • Drive or operate heavy machinery, until you know how MS Contin affects you. MS Contin can make you sleepy, dizzy, or lightheaded.
  • Drink alcohol or use prescription or over-the-counter medicines that contain alcohol.

MS Contin Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of MS Contin there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before receiving this medication, tell your doctor if you:

  • have severe asthma, trouble breathing, or other lung problems.
  • have a bowel blockage or have narrowing of the stomach or intestines.
  • have a history of head injury, seizures.
  • have liver, kidney, thyroid, pancreas, or gallbladder problems.
  • have problems urinating.
  • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. 
  • are breastfeeding. 
  • are taking prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
  • have a history of abuse of street or prescription drugs, alcohol addiction, or mental health problems.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

MS Contin and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.

MS Contin and Lactation

Tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding. MS Contin passes into human breast milk and may harm your baby.

MS Contin Usage

Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Take this medication as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose.

MS Contin comes as an extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. MS Contin is usually taken every 8 hours or every 12 hours.

Swallow MS Contin tablets whole. Do not chew, break, crush, or dissolve tablets. 

If you feel that your pain is not controlled, call your doctor. Do not change the dose of your medication without talking to your doctor.

Do not stop taking MS Contin without talking to your doctor. Your doctor may decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking MS Contin, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness; teary eyes; runny nose; yawning; irritability; anxiety; sweating; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; chills; back, muscle, or joint pain; nausea; vomiting; loss of appetite; diarrhea; stomach cramps; weakness; fast heartbeat; or fast breathing.

MS Contin Dosage

Take MS Contin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. 

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the type and severity of the pain you have
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your age

Initial treatment with MS Contin typically starts with one 15 mg tablet given by mouth once every 8 or 12 hours, but your dose may be increased over time.

MS Contin Overdose

If you take too much MS Contin, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.

MS Contin is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep this medication in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away MS Contin may harm others, and is against the law.

MS Contin FDA Warning

Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse 
MS Contin exposes patients and other users to the risks of opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Assess each patient’s risk prior to prescribing MS Contin, and monitor all patients regularly for the development of these behaviors or conditions.

Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression 
Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur with use of MS Contin. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of MS Contin or following a dose increase. Instruct patients to swallow MS Contin tablets whole; crushing, chewing, or dissolving MS Contin tablets can cause rapid release and absorption of a potentially fatal dose of MS Contin.

Accidental Ingestion 
Accidental ingestion of even one dose of MS Contin, especially by children, can result in a fatal overdose of MS Contin.

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome 
Prolonged use of MS Contin during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If opioid use is required for a prolonged period in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.