Medications

Short-term use of opioids increases subjective pleasure

The human opioid system contributes to the regulation of emotions, pleasure and pain. Opioids are strong analgesics. In addition to effectively relieving pain, external opioids may improve mood and reduce negative emotions. ...

Medications

US dentists out-prescribe UK dentists when it comes to opioids

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have found that dentists practicing in the U.S. write 37 times more opioid prescriptions than dentists practicing in England. And, the type of opioids they prescribe ...

Medications

U.S. lawmakers say WHO opioid guidelines too lax

The World Health Organization's pain care guidelines contain false claims about the safety of prescription opioid painkillers and should be withdrawn, two U.S. lawmakers say.

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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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