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Side Effects


Diamorphine hydrochloride should be used with caution if you have:

It should not be used if you have:

  • allergies to diamorphine or morphine
  • a tumour on your adrenal gland called a phaeochromocytoma
  • severe breathing difficulties
  • increased pressure on the brain, head injury or unconscious
  • acute alcoholism
  • risk of a blocked intestine
  • severe stomachcramps caused by biliary colic
  • severe diarrhoea
  • use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors or within two weeks of stopping taking them.

Also see list of precautions and interactions


Do not store above 25°C.


What is it used for?

  • Diamorphine hydrochloride used to relieve pain by acting on the central nervous system.
  • It is a narcotic analgesic, sometimes known as an opioid analgesic.
  • It is used to relieve moderate to severe pain.
  • In general this drug is used for the relief of pain.

Listed below are the typical uses of diamorphine hydrochloride.

  • relief of severe pain associated with surgery, heart attack, terminal illness, cancer;
  • relief of breathlessness associated with fluid on the lungs (pulmonary oedema).

On occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on the above list. Such conditions are listed below.

  • None known.


How often do I take it?

  • Your doctor or nurse will prepare and give the injection to you. The injection will be into a vein, into a muscle, or under the skin.
  • This medication will only be given to you by your doctor or nurse.
  • It may take some hours before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • Diamorphine causes drowsiness and loss of concentration. If affected patients should not drive or use machines. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • Always complete the full course as administered by your doctor.


If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform your doctor or pharmacist.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • breathing difficulties,
  • circulation difficulties leading to collapse.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.


Before taking diamorphine hydrochloride, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it or to other opiod analgesic; or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist in case of:

  • Allergies to diamorphine or morphine,
  • a tumour on your adrenal gland called a phaeochromocytoma,
  • severe breathing difficulties,
  • increased pressure on the brain, head injury or unconscious,
  • acute alcoholism,
  • risk of a blocked intestine,
  • severe stomach cramps caused by biliary colic,
  • severe diarrhoea,
  • use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors or within two weeks of stopping taking them.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following:

  • Head injuries,
  • asthma,
  • bronchitis,
  • emphysema,
  • raised pressure in the head,
  • cor-pulmonale (a type of heart failure),
  • severe obesity,
  • mental illness due to an infection,
  • problems with your bile duct,
  • if you are in a state of severe shock,
  • repeated administration may lead to dependence and tolerance developing,
  • a known tendency or history of drug abuse,
  • acute alcoholism,
  • severe inflammatory or obstructive bowel disorders,
  • low blood pressure,
  • under active thyroid gland,
  • painful gallstones,
  • liver or kidney disease,
  • under active adrenal gland,
  • bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis),
  • convulsions (fits),
  • enlarged prostate, or difficulty passing water,
  • a "hunch back" (kyphoscoliosis),
  • if you are pregnant or breast feeding,
  • if your nervous system is not working as well as it should (CNS depression),
  • mental instability due to drugs or other toxins (toxic psychosis),
  • withdrawal symptoms from sedatives,
  • elderly or debilitated patients,
  • if you are a are a child.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • You should not drink alcohol while taking diamorphine hydrochloride.

The elderly: diamorphine hydrochloride should be used with caution in the elderly as it may affect breathing.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below


Diamorphine hydrochloride is not safe to take if you are, or are planning to become, pregnant, unless you have discussed this with your doctor first.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Diamorphine hydrochloride is not safe to take if you are breastfeeding.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Before using this medicine, tell your prescriber of all the medicines you are taking including prescription medicines and medicines you have bought over the counter without a prescription. Tell your prescriber if you are taking vitamins or complementary remedies such as herbal products, as these can also interact with medicines.

If you are taking more than one medicine, these may interact with each other. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines which interact with each other if the benefit outweighs the risks. In these cases, the dose of your medicines may need to be adjusted or you may be monitored more closely.

The following medicines may interact with diamorphine:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as phenelzine used to treat depression
  • Diazepam
  • Nitrazepam
  • Temazepam
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Haloperidol
  • Loperamide
  • Kaolin
  • Anxiolytics
  • Hypnotics
  • Mexiletine
  • Cisapride
  • Domperidone
  • Metoclopramide
  • Antimuscarinic drugs (e.g. atropine)
  • 4-quinolone antibacterials
  • Cimetidine
  • Selegiline
  • Ritonavir

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, tell your prescriber of all the products you are using before taking this medicine.

If you have a question or want to discuss anything about your medicine, speak to your local pharmacist.


An overdose of diamorphine hydrochloride may cause breathing difficulties, unconsciousness or coma, muscle flaccidity, cold clammy skin, small pupils and occasionally slow heart beat and low blood pressure.

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of diamorphine hydrochloride or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.


Your doctor or nurse will administer your medicine, please consult them if you think you have missed a dose.

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Source: Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by Boots UK Limited. This copyrighted material is sourced from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorised by the applicable terms of use.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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