CONTROLLING PAIN: What you need to know about opioids
Yvonne D'Arcy CRNP, CNS, MS

February 2008 
Volume 38  Number 2
Pages 26 - 27
  PDF Version Available!


D'Arcy, Yvonne CRNP, CNS, MS

Yvonne D'Arcy is a nurse practitioner in pain management and palliative care at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., and a member of the Nursing2008 editorial advisory board. Meet Ms. D'Arcy, who's speaking at the Nursing2008 Symposium in Las Vegas, Nev., March 18 to 21, 2008.

OPIOIDS, among the most-prescribed analgesics, are derived from opium, a substance with a two-sided history: potent pain reliever and recreational drug. In this article, I'll discuss why they work and what you need to remember to administer them safely and effectively.

Form and function

Opioids, which are natural derivatives of the opium poppy, include morphine, codeine, and heroin. Morphine and heroin are used in their natural form, but other natural opium alkaloids, including codeine, noscapine, papaverine, and thebaine, can be reduced into more common analgesic compounds. Thebaine, for example, is used to produce semisynthetic opioid ...

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