Effects of opioid analgesics on the action of general anaesthetics

  • P. Giusti
Conference paper


The air-dried, milky exudation obtained by incising the unripe capsules of papaver somniferum, or its variety album, have been used for many hundreds of years to relieve pain. The chief narcotic principal alkaloid of opium was isolated by Sertürner in 1803 and called morphine, in honor of Morpheus, the god of dreams or of sleep. Later morphine was shown to be almost entirely responsible for the analgesic activity of crude opium. In 1954, Beckett and Casey [1] showed that morphine and other opioids produce their pharmacological effects by interacting with specific receptors. The concept that there is more than one type of opioid receptor arose to explain the dual actions of the synthetic opioid nalorphine, which antagonizes the analgesic effect of morphine in man, but also acts as an analgesic in its own right. Martin [2] concluded that the analgesic action of nalorphine is mediated by a receptor, later called the k-opioid receptor, that is different from the morphine receptor. Evidence for multiple receptors, m, k and s, came from the demonstration of different profiles of pharmacological activity in the chronic spinal dog with the prototype agonists morphine, ketazocine, and N-allyInormetazocine (SKF10047) [3].The existence of the d-receptor was subsequently proposed to explain the profile of activity in vitro of the enkephalins (the first endogenous opioid peptides), and on the basis of the relative potency of the non-selective opioid antagonist naloxone to reverse endogenous opioid peptide inhibition of the nerve-evoked contractions of the mouse vas deferens [4].


Opioid Receptor Endogenous Opioid Peptide Anaesthetic Interaction Opioid Receptor Family Putative Subtype 
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  • P. Giusti

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