Opioid or narcotic analgesics are opium alkaloids. Opium is the airy milky juice of a special kind of sleeping papaya – Papaver somniferum. These drugs have been known since ancient times, and they were used for severe pain syndrome, anxiety and insomnia.
For opioids, strong analgesic activity is characteristic, which makes it possible to use them as highly effective painkillers in various fields of medicine, especially in traumas, surgical interventions, wounds, etc. and in diseases accompanied by severe pain syndrome (malignant neoplasms, myocardial infarction). By exerting a special influence on the central nervous system, opioids cause euphoria, a change in the emotional color of pain and reaction to it. The most significant disadvantage is the development of mental and physical dependence.
This group of analgesics include natural alkaloids (morphine, codeine) and synthetic compounds (trimeperidine, fentanyl, tramadol, nalbuphine). Most synthetic drugs are obtained by the principle of modifying a molecule of morphine with the preservation of elements of its structure or its simplification. By chemical modification of the molecule of morphine, substances that are its antagonists (naloxone, naltrexone) are also obtained.