Opioids are a class of medications that have been associated with potent analgesia. Used for thousands of years as effective agents to treat malignant and nonmalignant pain, opioids evolved from simple extracts and alkaloids to potent synthetic formulations employed to treat acute and chronic pain. With extending their role into treating the chronic pain syndromes, controversies arise on the proper indications of those agents questioning the balance between effective pain treatments and the liability for abuse. This chapter will explore the use of opioids and their potential for abuse as well as regulatory mechanisms to limit liability of their use.
KeywordsOpioid analgesia Opioid mechanism of action Opioid abuse Illicit use of opioid Analgesics Opioid regulation Risk factors for opioid abuse Abuse deterrent formulations
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