Morphine, molecular model

Morphine, molecular model

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Credit: Kallista Images/Custom Medical Stock Photo/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Morphine. Computer model of morphine (C17H19NO3). Morphine is a narcotic alkaloid derived from opium and mainly prescribed to alleviate pain. In this model the carbon atoms are turquoise, hydrogen white, nitrogen blue and oxygen red. The relief of pain occurs in at least three ways: a reduction of pain perception at the thalamic level, an alteration of pain reaction at the level of the cerebral cortex, and an elevation of the pain threshold by inducing sedation or sleep. Morphine also has effects on the gastroenteric tract by causing constipation and spastic movements of the bowels and sphincters.

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