Dille, James M. Formerly, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
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A drug that diminishes the awareness of sensory impulses, especially pain, by the brain. Narcotics are useful therapeutically as analgesics and are the most powerful pain-relieving agents available. However, their use is complicated by a number of undesirable side actions, often leading to drug addiction (Fig. 1). Indeed, much research in this area has been directed toward a search for an agent having the same degree of analgesic properties as morphine, the most widely used of the narcotics, but without its undesirable side actions. See also: Analgesic; Brain; Pain; Pharmaceutical chemistry; Pharmacology
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