Last update Aug. 11, 2022

Opium tincture

Low Risk

Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

Opium is obtained from the latex of Papaver somniferum capsules. It contains mainly morphine, and also codeine, thebaine, noscapine and papaverine. It has analgesic, sedative (morphine) and spasmolytic properties on the intestine (papaverine and noscapine). It is used as prepared opium, powdered opium, tincture of opium, or tincture of camphorated (paregoric) opium. It is an old-fashioned medication that has been used orally to treat  acute and chronic pain, diarrhea, cough, and neonatal abstinence syndrome. (Martindale, Zankl 2021, Wunsch 2006, Langenfeld 2005)

Since the last update we have not found published data on its excretion in breastmilk.

Despite of a low molecular weight and a low serum-protein binding capacity that would favor excretion into the milk, its high value of volume distribution would permit a shorter permanence in the blood that would hamper its excretion.

A low oral bioavailability would hamper absorption from ingested mother's milk, except among newborn infants o prematures, who may attain an increased absorption capacity.

The mixture of alkaloids that opium contains and the possibility that it is excreted in breast milk makes it not advisable during lactation.

It is a product with very few bibliographic references and marketed in few countries.

Opium is a prohibited drug of abuse in most countries.

Do not exceed the prescribed dose. Until more information on this drug is available, other options that are known to be safer are recommended, especially when the baby is a newborn or a premature. Follow-up of symptoms as sedation or gastrointestinal disorders is recommended.


Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Opium tincture is also known as

Opium tincture in other languages or writings:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Opium tincture in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. baja / poor %
Protein Binding 20 - 60 %
VD > 0.5 l/Kg
Tmax 2 - 4 hours
3 - 10 hours


  1. Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference Medicines Complete. available online from: 2022 Abstract
  2. Zankl A, Martin J, Davey JG, Osborn DA. Opioid treatment for opioid withdrawal in newborn infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021 Jul 7;7:CD002059. Abstract
  3. Wunsch MJ. A chart review comparing paregoric to methadone in the treatment of neonatal opioid withdrawal. J Addict Dis. 2006;25(3):27-33. Abstract
  4. Pharmanovia. Dropizol. Drug Summary 2005 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Langenfeld S, Birkenfeld L, Herkenrath P, Müller C, Hellmich M, Theisohn M. Therapy of the neonatal abstinence syndrome with tincture of opium or morphine drops. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2005 Jan 7;77(1):31-6. Abstract

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