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Paul Glare

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date: 24 July 2021

Chapter 9 discusses Morphine, the main pharmacologically active constituent of opium, which is the resin derived from the dried juice of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum).Morphine was first introduced into clinical practice more than 200 years ago. It is the prototype opioid drug, whose analgesic and rewarding effects are mediated by activating opioid receptors which are found mainly within the central nervous system (CNS). Morphine remains the strong opioid of choice for moderate to severe cancer pain, and it is on the World Health Organizations’s Essential Drugs List. Despite this pre-eminent status, cancer patients are often reluctant to be treated with morphine because they fear its side effects and the risk of addiction, or they perceive it as solely a comfort for the dying, rather than a legitimate analgesic. A thorough understanding of the pharmacology of this old drug is an important strategy for healthcare professionals in overcoming these patient-related barriers.

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