Opioids offer effective pain relief, but dosages vary widely

September 1, 2004

MORPHINE, the first and best-known of the opioid analgesics, is a natural substance produced from the opium poppy, papaver somniferum. It's been used to relieve pain since ancient times; Hippocrates prescribed poppy juice as a narcotic. Today many different semisynthetic opioid analgesics are used to relieve moderate to severe pain, but morphine remains the standard of comparison used to describe their effectiveness.