Current Issue - March/April 2008 - Vol 11 Issue 2S


  1. 2008;11;S133-S153Opioid Pharmacology

    Andrea M. Trescot, MD, Sukdeb Datta, MD, Marion Lee, MD, and Hans Hansen, MD.

BACKGROUND: Mu agonists have been an important component of pain treatment for thousands of years. The usual pharmacokinetic parameters (half-life, clearance, volume of distribution) of opioids have been known for some time. However, the metabolism has, until recently, been poorly understood, and there has been recent interest in the role of metabolites in modifying the pharmacodynamic response in patients, in both analgesia and adverse effects. A number of opioids are available for clinical use, including morphine, hydromorphone, levorphanol, oxycodone, and fentanyl. Advantages and disadvantages of various opioids in the management of chronic pain are discussed.

OBJECTIVE: This review looks at the structure, chemistry, and metabolism of opioids in an effort to better understand the side effects, drug interactions, and the individual responses of patients receiving opioids for the treatment of intractable pain.

CONCLUSION: Mu receptor agonists and agonist-antagonists have been used throughout recent medical history for the control of pain and for the treatment of opiate induced side effects and even opiate withdrawal syndromes.