Morphine – an Addictive Painkiller

Morphine: Uses, Side Effects, Alternatives & More - GoodRx

As per the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), “Over 4 million Americans abused a prescription painkiller and close to 2 million met the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder involving these medications. ” These staggering figures point at the severity of the epidemic that has taken a heavy toll on the people involved in the compulsive use of the drug. However, the worst part is that people get psychologically dependent on morphine Buy Morphine 60mg Online , which paves the way for strong cravings, despite harmful side effects.

Many people get addicted to morphine to combat the stresses of daily life, and celebrities are no exception. Jamie Lee Curtis, 58, an American actor, known for her roles in “Trading Places” (1983), “Perfect” (1985) and “A Fish Called Wanda” (1988), once battled with a severe addiction to morphine. She got hooked on to the drug after a routine cosmetic surgery during her 30s, which, ultimately, pushed her into the whirlpool of addiction.

Her brush with morphine started years ago when she gave in to the pressures of the cutthroat competition prevailing in her profession life, when she decided to get the excess fat removed from her face to appear more desirable. However, unable to bear the post-surgical pain and the accompanying emotional trauma she resorted to morphine to get the much-needed solace.

Medical practitioners regard morphine as the gold standard of pain relievers. However, it must be administered in a clinical setup for a legitimate purpose. Unfortunately, due to its habit-forming nature, those addicted to the drug continue to use it even outside the hospital, resulting in physical dependence.

The narcotic is available as an injectable, suppository, syrup or even in a pill form, and when consumed, it adheres to the pleasure centers of the brain, numbing pain and causing euphoric sensations. Owing to its potential for abuse and addiction, the Global Information Network About Drugs (GINAD) considers it as one of the most potent opioid drugs in existence.

Staying hooked on morphine for a long period can lead to physical dependency on the drug, as the brain gradually gets accustomed to having chemical toxins in the system. Such a situation can cause a psychological dependence, which leads to an intense craving for the drug. In due course of time, an increased drug tolerance progressively leads to higher doses of the drug to get the same effect. Morphine was the first derived from opium in the early 1800s and has been used ever since to treat severe pain. It’s habit sometimes occurs from taking and using illegitimately, like heroin, cocaine or other extremely addictive drugs. It has to be used with caution, because it affects the intestine and breathing. Now, its restricted to controlling severe pain and other special purposes.

Morphine detox is most effective in relieving pain when they are injected into the blood stream by a hypodermic syringe. When they are taken by mouth, digestion slows their effects. It has been used to relieve pain since it was first isolated in 1803. Morphine has about half the analgesic potency of heroin but 12 times the potency of codeine. Because of its potential for serious side effects, morphine is generally used in a hospital setting where emergency care can be rendered, if necessary. Most pain can be a relief by morphine if high enough doses are used.

Painkillers are effective drugs that break the transmission of nerve signals perceived as pain by the human brain. Doctors usually prescribe weak or strong opioids, such as codeine or morphine, to relieve severe and mild pain. But these drugs come with their own side effects, such as constipation, dizziness and cough, and may also lead to addiction and dependence in the long run.

To find an alternative to morphine that does not have lethal side effects, a team of researchers from the University of California, San francisco (UCSF) found a new pain-relieving drug that is as effective as morphine but does not have any side effects. The study titled “Structure-based discovery of opioid analgesics with reduced side effects” was published online in the journal Nature in August 2016.

According to Brian Shoichet of the UCSF, a co-author of the study, scientists have been looking for a safer alternative to standard opioids for the past several decades. Morphine acts on the μ-opioid receptor (μOR), which in turn produces two effects: relief from pain and suppressed breathing. The researchers, therefore, aimed at finding a drug that relieves pain but does not suppress breathing. The approach used was completely new and focused on finding a novel compound that was different from opioids.

The researchers performed about 4 trillion computer-based experiments in the lab to decide the kind of molecules that are best suited for the atomic structure of the brain’s morphine receptor before finally finding PZM21. Thereafter, the researchers shortlisted 23 candidate molecules that could reduce pain without causing problems such as impaired breathing and constipation. The newly discovered PZM21, having nearly 1, 000 times higher binding potency, was the result of a further optimization of the already shortlisted, most potent chemicals.

Although the new drug has been tested only on mice, the researchers believe that this might probably be the best suited replacement for morphine. PZM21 had long-lasting pain relieving effects on the experimental mice and had a negligible impact on their breathing. It also showed reduced constipation effects. The drug did not activate the dopamine system of the animals, and therefore, was not addictive. Since the researchers could not replicate the same effect on humans, it is yet to be seen whether the drug can be used safely in human beings as well.

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