Opiates have had therapeutic relevance since antiquity and are still among the most widely used drugs in medical practice. The euphoric and calming actions of opiates fostered their clinical use as sedatives, “antianxiety agents,” hypnotics and antidepressants. Awareness of their addictive propensities prompted a decline in the use of opiates for these purposes and a restriction to analgesic, antidiarrheal and antitussive roles. For many years pharmacologists have sought a nonaddicting opiate in persistent but largely vain efforts. The recent characterization of opiate receptors in the brain and opioid peptides, presumptive neurotransmitters that normally interact with the opiate receptor, may render.
ASJC Scopus subject areas