Morphine ampoules

1 minute to Read
Contributor
He Ako Hiringa
30 September 2022
Brand change

The funded brand of morphine ampoules has changed, as a result of Pharmac’s annual tender process.

The DBL Morphine Sulfate (Pfizer) brand has been replaced with Morphine Sulfate (Medsurge). Both brands are morphine sulfate pentahydrate solutions for injection.

The new brand was listed in community and hospital schedules on 1 October 2022, and the DBL brand was delisted on 31 March 2023. The brand change affects all strengths of morphine ampoules, namely:

  • 5mg/ml
  • 10mg/ml
  • 15mg/ml
  • 30mg/ml.

Packaging for the new brand will look different, and the colour-coding signifying the strength of morphine ampoules will change.


Careful attention is required to ensure the correct strength of morphine ampoule is selected for administration


Changes to colour-coding mean extra vigilance required

Both brands of morphine ampoules use colour-coding to signify strength; however, these colours do not exactly match across brands, and the new brand has some colour codes that are very similar between strengths. Specifically, Medsurge has brown colour-coding for both the 15mg/ml and 30mg/ml strengths, although the shade differs.


New ampoules colour-coded

Individual morphine ampoules of the new brand exhibit the same colour codes as their specific packaging; the current brand does not have colour-coded ampoules.

Morphine solution is presented in pre-scored One Point Cut ampoules that can be opened easily and safely, reducing the risk of splintering and/or sharp edges.


Compatibility

Morphine may sometimes be mixed with other medicines prior to injection. All strengths of DBL Morphine and Medsurge morphine ampoules are the morphine sulphate pentahydrate salt, are preservative free, and contain the same excipients. Therefore, Medsurge brand morphine compatibilities are expected to be the same as the DBL brand.

Brand Salt Excipients Incompatibilities (noted on the datasheet) pH
Medsurge Morphine Sulphate Hydrochloric acid, sodium chloride, water for injection Thiopentone: forms an inactive preparation when combined 3.2 – 4.5
DBL Morphine Sulphate Morphine Sulphate Hydrochloric acid, sodium chloride, water for injection Thiopentone: forms an inactive preparation when combined 3.2 – 4.0


Colour comparison chart



Acknowledgements

Written by: Gayle Robins, freelance medical writer and regular contributor to He Ako Hiringa resources

Reviewed by: Andrea Copeland (BPharm, PGDipPUBH), education lead He Ako Hiringa

Content updates

8 December 2022: Compatibility section added.

8 May 2023: DBL delist date added, and article reworded to reflect that Medsurge is now the only funded brand of morphine sulphate ampoules.