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What are Painkiller Analogues?

What are Painkiller Analogues?When discussing drug chemistry and pharmacology, drug terminology is particularly important. The term drug analogue is unfamiliar to many, but is important to understand when discussing the creation of new drugs.

What is a Drug Analogue?

Drug analogues, sometimes called designer drugs, are those that are synthetically created to closely model the chemical structure of another drug through the rearrangement of a single atom or functional group. The main compound of a drug analogue remains the same as the original so that the targeted effect of the new drug is the same. However, when a single atom or functional group is altered, new properties result. By modifying certain parts of the chemical structure, a drug analogue has the potential to produce stronger effects or to reduce certain negative characteristics, such as addictive quality.

The term drug analogue may also be used more loosely, simply referring to drugs that are similar in composition and produce similar effects. In pharmacology, a functional analogue is a compound with similar chemical properties, while a structural analogue is one with similar chemical structure. The encompassing term of drug analogues often refers to those that are both functional and structural analogues.

Painkiller Analogues

Over time, scientists have synthesized analogues for many different drug classes. Painkillers, particularly opioid analgesics, were targeted for production. Many drug creators were seeking to find an opioid with a stronger potency than anything else on the market. Such drugs would have a large market for those seeking to abuse painkillers for recreational purposes. Others experimented with painkiller analogues to create a non-addictive version of the drugs, as existing opioids have a high risk for addiction development.

Fentanyl, for example, is a synthetically created opioid analgesic used to rapidly treat moderate to severe pain. The creation of Fentanyl triggered the production of several drug analogues which possessed high potency. The potency of these analogues proved to be highly dangerous, in many cases resulting in extreme respiratory depression or death.

Federal Analogue Act of 1986

In 1986, the United States Congress enacted the Federal Analogue Act as a means to combat the production of dangerous schedule I and II drug analogues, which were being used recreationally. Under the Federal Analogue Act, the term drug analogue is imprecisely defined. In this act, a drug analogue is one that is “substantially similar” to another and has similar or greater effect. Unfortunately, this leaves room for misunderstandings, as “similar” is not clearly defined. Such vague terminology leaves room for troublesome court cases for those trying to create new drugs. While the drug creator may not view the new drug as being similar in chemical composition, federal prosecutors may view it differently.

Get Help for Painkiller Addiction

Addiction to painkillers can lead to both physical and psychological damage. If you or someone you know is addicted to painkillers, please call our toll free number today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatment for painkiller addiction.

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