Noxious stimuli cause pain to protect the body from harmful situations and attract attention to pathophysiologic changes of the body. Specific receptors of pain (nociceptors) can be found all over our body. Pain initiates protecting mechanisms such as vegetative and motor reflexes, and emotional, behavioral changes. However, chronic pain is practically useless and leads to pathopsychological changes. There are several ways to relieve pain including non-steroid anti-inflammatory agents, opioids, neurosurgical and non-invasive methods. Central and periferal effects of opioids can be realized through opioid receptors of the central and the enteric nervous system. In the central nervous system, they can inhibit the perception of pain or change the emotional reactions. Opioids are indicated in postoperative pain, neuropathic pain and cancer. However, the use of opioids has severe side-effects such as breathing depression and the development of tolerance and dependence which do not make opioids optimal painkillers. There are several laboratories in Hungary and abroad working on the design of optimal pain relievers. Furthermore, the euphoric effects of opioids lead to abuse which makes the research important on the mechanisms of opioid addiction. Taken together, opioid research, the design of new compounds and the exploration of the mechanisms of opiate addiction are very important.
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