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Opioid Potency Comparison

Opioid Potency Comparison

Narcotic medications vary in their potency. Each drug has a different prescription range of effectiveness and the number of milligrams in the dosage is not an indication of how strong the medication might be. For example, the dose of hydromorphone (dilaudid) needs to be only 1.5 mg to equal the effectiveness of 10mg of morphine.

In general medications given intravenously or by intramuscular injection will have a quicker onset of action than medications given orally.

MedicationRouteTime to EffectDurationRoutine Dosage Equivalent
Morphine Sulphate
 
IV
IM
PO
5-10 min
15-30 min
30-60 min
3-6 hours
3-6 hours
3-6 hours
10 mg IV
10 mg IM
30-60 mg PO
OxycodonePO10-15 min4-6 hours10-20 mg PO
HydrocodonePO30-60 min4-6 hours15-30 mg PO
FentanylIVImmediate1-2 hours50 micrograms IV
Hydromorphone

 
PO
IV
IM
15-30 min
15 min
15 min
4-6 hours
4-6 hours
4-6 hours
7.5 mg
1.5 mg
1.5 mg
CodeinePO30-60 min4-6 hours200 mg
NalbuphineIM15 min3-6 hours10 mg

IV = intravenous
IM = intramuscular
PO = orally

Routine dosage equivalent to Morphine 10 mg IM or IV

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

"Opioids and Methadone Equivalents for Clinicians"
W. Victor R. Vieweg, M.D., William F. Carlyle Lipps, Pharm.D., and Antony Fernandez, M.D.
The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, March 16, 2005


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/8/2016

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