Pain and poppies: The good, the bad, and the ugly of Opioid analgesics

Tuan Trang, Ream Al-Hasani, Daniela Salvemini, Michael W. Salter, Howard Gutstein, Catherine M. Cahill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Treating pain is one of the most difficult challenges in medicine and a key facet of disease management. The isolation of morphine by Friedrich Sertu¨rner in 1804 added an essential pharmacological tool in the treatment of pain and spawned the discovery of a new class of drugs known collectively as opioid analgesics. Revered for their potent pain-relieving effects, even Morpheus the god of dreams could not have dreamt that his opium tincture would be both a gift and a burden to humankind. To date, morphine and other opioids remain essential analgesics for alleviating pain. However, their use is plagued by major side effects, such as analgesic tolerance (diminished pain-relieving effects), hyperalgesia (increased pain sensitivity), and drug dependence. This review highlights recent advances in understanding the key causes of these adverse effects and explores the effect of chronic pain on opioid reward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13879-13888
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 14 2015


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