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n. The 3,6-dinicotinate ester of morphine, a strong opioid agonist analgesic two to three times as potent as morphine.


Nicomorphine (Vilan, Subellan, Gevilan, MorZet) is the 3,6-dinicotinate ester of morphine. It is a strong opioid agonist analgesic two to three times as potent as morphine with a side effect profile similar to that of dihydromorphine, morphine, and diamorphine. Nicomorphine was patented as Vilan by Lannacher Heilmittel Ges. m.b.H. of Austria in 1957. and was first synthesized in 1904 either there or at another firm in what was then Austria-Hungary. The hydrochloride salt is available as ampoules of 10 mg/ml solution for injection, 5 mg tablets, and 10 mg suppositories. It is possible that other manufacturers distribute 10 mg tablets and other concentrations of injectable nicomorphine in ampoules and multidose vials. It is used, particularly in the German-speaking countries and elsewhere in Central Europe and some other countries in Europe and the former USSR in particular, for post-operative, cancer, chronic non-malignant and other neuropathic pain. It is commonly used in patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) units. The usual starting dose is 5–10 mg given every 3–5 hours.

The 3,6-diesters of morphine are drugs with more rapid and complete central nervous system penetration due to increased lipid solubility and other structural considerations. The prototype for this subgroup of semi-synthetic opiates is heroin and the group also includes dipropanoylmorphine, diacetyldihydromorphine, disalicylmorphine and others. Whilst this produces an enhanced "bang" when the drug is administered intravenously, it cannot be distinguished from morphine via other routes, although the different side effect profile, including lower incidence of nausea, is very apparent.