Opioids have traditionally served society, as the most powerful analgesics, but political conflicts and differences of opinions, prejudice, and continuing ignorance of patients and physicians’ education on pain rather than disease have all served as the underlying barriers to judicious use of opioids and still impede optimum prescribing. But interestingly opioids are still being produced by conventional pharmaceutical industry. Why?
Opioids are useful for most moderate to severe pain and particularly for post operative or cancer related pain. Opioids are less effective against nerve pain (neuropathic pain) such as trigeminal neuralgia or phantom limb pain. In addition to their analgesic effects opioids drugs have a variety of other actions within CNS. The calming activity of opioids contributes to their analgesic efficacy by helping relieve the anxiety and distress associated with pain and this is indeed important in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction for example. Above all, if the dose of opioids that can be given is limited then the analgesia can be maintained for very long periods that are the real judicial use of opioids. This is a very important reason that opioids are incorporated in limited amount in many pain killer preparations including some cough mixtures as well. Incorporation of this limited amount of doses in turn improves and contributes to the efficacy of the main analgesic compound or the drug intended for human use. Additions of small doses in medicinal preparations for management of non cancer chronic pains (due to varied causes) improves the market value and gains popularity in the market and because of its popularity in the market conventional pharmaceutical industries are still interested in producing opioids.