Psychology & Psychiatry

Mindfulness may reduce opioid cravings, study finds

People suffering from opioid addiction and chronic pain may have fewer cravings and less pain if they use both mindfulness techniques and medication for opioid dependence, according to Rutgers and other researchers.

Medical research

Bioelectronic implant could prevent opioid deaths

Researchers are developing a novel, implantable device that can sense the effects of a potentially fatal level of ingested opioids and then automatically and immediately deliver a life-saving dose of naloxone.

Medications

Combat's other toll on veterans: increased risk of addiction

In what is described as the first study of its kind, a UConn professor has found that combat service substantially increased the risk of prescription painkiller abuse and illicit heroin use among active-duty American servicemen.

Medications

Primary care appointment time impacts prescribing of opioids

(HealthDay)—Even within an individual physician's schedule, physician behavior for opioid prescribing varies by the appointment timing, according to a study recently published online in JAMA Network Open.

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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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