How Does Morphine Help Shortness Of Breath (SOB)?

Although most people realize morphine is an excellent pain killer, it also is extremely helpful in controlling shortness of breath due to Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or to Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD) or Emphysema. It relaxes the muscles in the bronchial/breathing tubes, making the work of breathing easier; and, it helps to control the anxiety associated with a “suffocating” feeling which may occur. It can be taken by mouth or by injection, and is usually started at a low dose (e.g. 3mg every 34 hrs) and increased as needed. (There has been no significant advantage to giving it through a nebulizer/breathing treatment.)