Codeine analgesic drug molecule

Codeine analgesic drug molecule

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Credit: LAGUNA DESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Codeine analgesic drug, molecular model. Codeine is an opiate drug obtained from the opium poppy. It is converted in the body to morphine, which is responsible for its painkilling (analgesic) effects. Like all opiates (chemicals derived from the opium poppy), it works by binding to the body's opioid receptors, many of which are found in the central nervous system. These receptors are the targets for endorphins and enkephalins, the body's natural internal painkillers. Although they bind to the opioid receptors, they are not opiates, instead being peptides (small proteins). Atoms are shown as balls and are colour-coded: carbon (grey), nitrogen (blue), oxygen (red) and hydrogen (white).

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