Related topics: drug

New molecular probes for opioid receptors

Strong painkillers are very important in the management of patients with cancer and heart attack or requiring surgery. They extert their effect by binding to so-called opioid receptors in the body.

Re-engineered plant compound treats opioid addiction in mice

The abuse of prescription and illegal opioids, such as morphine and heroin, is a major problem in the U.S., with devastating public health, economic and social consequences. That's why scientists are searching for new medicines ...

Opioid solutions found beyond the headlines

Every day, the headlines offer yet another example of how the ongoing opioid epidemic is devastating communities and individual lives. But given the significant role popular media plays in shaping public perceptions, where ...

Investigating alternatives to opioids for dogs in pain

Opioids are among the most effective pain relievers in dogs and cats, but amid the U.S. opioid crisis it has become much more difficult for animal hospitals to access these drugs. This, coupled with the potential for abuse ...

Next-generation single-dose antidotes for opioid overdoses

The U.S. opioid epidemic is being driven by an unprecedented surge in deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opiates. Fentanyl's powerful effects are long-lasting, and even tiny amounts of the drug can lead to an overdose. ...

New protocol for measuring background levels of drugs in crime labs

When crime lab chemists handle evidence that contains illegal drugs, trace amounts of those drugs are inevitably released into the laboratory environment. When chemists scoop a bit of powder to test it, for instance, microscopic ...

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Opioid

An opioid is a psychoactive chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors, which are found principally in the central and peripheral nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. The receptors in these organ systems mediate both the beneficial effects and the side effects of opioids.

Opioids are among the world's oldest known drugs; the use of the opium poppy for its therapeutic benefits predates recorded history. The analgesic (painkiller) effects of opioids are due to decreased perception of pain, decreased reaction to pain as well as increased pain tolerance. The side effects of opioids include sedation, respiratory depression, constipation, and a strong sense of euphoria. Opioids can cause cough suppression, which can be both an indication for opioid administration or an unintended side effect. Opioid dependence can develop with ongoing administration, leading to a withdrawal syndrome with abrupt discontinuation. Opioids are well known for their ability to produce a feeling of euphoria, motivating some to recreationally use opioids.

Although the term opiate is often used as a synonym for opioid, the term opiate is properly limited to the natural alkaloids found in the resin of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). In some definitions, the semi-synthetic substances that are directly derived from the opium poppy are considered to be opiates as well, while in other classification systems these substances are simply referred to as semi-synthetic opioids.

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