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Opioid Class

Opioids are often called opiates, which is satisfactory for practical purposes because the two classes of drugs basically produce the same effects in the same way. A technical difference exists between the two classes, however. If the history of a product were traced backward through its manufacturing processes, opiates generally would begin with the opium plant, but opioids would generally begin in a laboratory. Despite this technical distinction, the terms opiates and opioids are often used synonymously. Some of these substances are called “semisynthetic” and are referred to as “opiate/opioid.” Some opiates, such as morphine, can even be manufactured wholly in a laboratory without starting from the natural product opium; thus the same chemical can be either an opiate or an opioid.

For information about specific opioid class depressants, see alphabetical listings for: butorphanol, dextromethorphan, dextromoramide, dextrorphan, diphenoxylate, dipipanone, fentanyl, ketobemidone, LAAM, levorphanol, meperidine, methadone, oxymorphone, phenoperidine, piritramide, propoxyphene, remifentanil, and trimeperidine.