What are those painkillers that can cause a dangerous addiction?

They have been making headlines in recent years for the number of overdose deaths their excessive use has caused. What are opioids, the intake of which must be closely monitored by doctors? Is there a difference with opiates? As pain patients, we will come across this class of medication at some point in our lives. Here is a short presentation.

When the pain can no longer be relieved by acetaminophen or anti-inflammatories, another class of drugs is prescribed: opioid analgesics.
But these drugs must be taken with as much caution as any other class of drugs because their repeated intake causes addictive behaviors, habituation of the body to its effects and therefore the need to increase intake and quantities.

Opioids, opiates, what’s the difference?

Opioids and opioids are terms that refer to the same pharmacological class. In France, the word opioid tends to generalize and seems to encompass the term opiate in common linguistic uses as scholars (organic chemistry and pharmacology). Opioids could be described as substances that can bind to opiate receptors in our brain.

The term opiate refers to the natural molecules present in opium, which is the white resin (or latex) obtained from the incision of the still green capsules of the poppy (Papaver somniferum), a larger flower than our field poppy, native to Asia. The compounds naturally present in opium are: morphine, codeine, narcotine, laudanosine, thebaine, papaverine, narcotine, noscapine, etc.

Other compound opiates, obtained from substances naturally present in opium (for example ), are also referred to by the generic term opioids: heroin, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc.

In the category of opioidsEntirely synthetic substances are most often cited: fentanyl, pethidine, methadone, propoxyphene, etc.

Finally, the term opioid also refers to substances that our body manufactures, endogenous opioids. Opioids and opioids prescribed to patients mimic and enhance our own opioid system.

When are opioids prescribed?

First of all, keep in mind that opioids[…]

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