In the United States, MS Contin is available in tablet in doses of 15mg, 30mg, 60mg, 100mg and 200mg. In Australia, MS Contin tablets are available in doses of 5mg, 10mg, 15mg, 30mg, 60mg, 100mg and 200mg, and as a suspension, in doses of 20mg, 30mg, 60mg, 100mg and 200mg. It is typically prescribed in cases of severe pain where prolonged opioid therapy is indicated.
MS Contin is a DEA Schedule II substance in the United States, and is a Schedule 8 (controlled) drug in Australia.
Alternative sustained release morphine sulfate formulations made and marketed by other pharmaceutical companies include King Pharmaceuticals' Avinza and Actavis Pharmaceuticals' Kadian. Kadian is available in various strengths. Unlike the MS Contin brand and its generic versions, Kadian and Avinza are designed to be 12-24 hour release, not 8-12 hour. So instead of 2-3 times a day dosing, it can be 1-2 times. There has been some concern[by whom?] regarding the issue that some capsules contain pellets (made by the process of extrusion and spheronization) while others contain powder. Pellet (spheroid) formulations (made by extrusion and spheronization) can be used for controlled release of the drug in the body whereas powder filled pellets generally cannot. This concern is misplaced, as a reading of the patent shows the plastic spheres containing powder have micropores that open at varying PH levels, to maintain a mostly constant release during transit through the digestive tract. The spheres themselves, the outer shells, pass undigested in most patients. Another use these style medications have is that they can be given via NG tube, the pellets being very small. This makes them one of the only extended release oral medications that can be given by feeding tube.