What is an opioid?

What is an opioid? Here are some definitions.

  1. A substance that has effects similar to opium.
  2. (physiology) Any of the natural substances, such as an endorphin, released in the body in response to pain.
  3. (pharmacology) Any of a group of synthetic compounds that exhibit similarities to the opium alkaloids that occur in nature.
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Most patients develop a tolerance for opioid side effects with the exception of constipation.
Some analgesics combine both mild non-opioid drugs such as aspirin or paracetamol, with a small amount of opioid in a single tablet.
Pain medication consists of an opioid, a spasmolytic agent, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
An oral, poorly absorbed opioid antagonist, such as naloxone, can be helpful when usual laxatives are not working.
Antagonist drugs such as naloxone can block the actions of opioid agonists.
Goals of therapy are to prevent abstinence syndrome, reduce narcotic cravings and block the euphoric effects of illicit opioid use.

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