Morphine Research Paper

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The pain class of drugs makes up a huge portion of the global pharmaceutical market, specifically 300 million prescriptions, just second to cancer medication. This market is worth about $24 billion and a large portion of this market is made up of opioids1. Raw opium from the opioid plant was being consumed for pain purposes for hundreds of years from the early 1500’s to the early 1800’s. It was not until 1804 when German pharmacist, Friedrich Sertürner, isolated the alkaloid, Morphine, from the opium poppy plant with the purpose to make a drug with a safer alternative than consuming raw opium. Not only was Morphine the first opioid drug to be isolated straight from the opium poppy but it is thought to be the first active ingredient derived from a plant2. Sertürner named the drug after the greek god, Morpheus, (the god of dreams and sleep) because of its tendency to cause sleep (thus labeling it as a narcotic) and was later available to the…show more content…
This drug was given to every soldier wounded during the battle because of its long, quick, and strong painkilling properties. It was later discovered that around 400,000 verterans suffered from “Soldiers Disease,” addicition and side effects to morphine following the Civil War4. The drug, diacetylmorphine (Heroin), was discovered and brought to market in 1898 with intent to be an alternative to Morphine with more tolerable side effects. The compound has two acetyl groups vs the two hydroxyl groups characteristic to Morphine, thus making the compound more lipophilic, which makes it able to penetrate the blood brain barrier quicker and cause a much more potent effect and leading to a strong euphoria, which then leads to addiction5. Heroin was withdrawn from the market and deemed illegal shortly after its release due to related deaths and highly addictive

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