Potential Opioid Addiction Therapeutics
Lewis, Stephanie N.
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Throughout the last thirty years, a severe opioid epidemic has arisen due to the excessive consumption and abuse of these addictive narcotics. Opioids are currently the best analgesic known to man, however the effects of opioids are not all beneficial; they are extremely addictive and are deadly when taken in high doses. Since opioids began rising in popularity in the 1990’s as a prescribed pain-reliever, opioid deaths have skyrocketed. These circumstances have caused the need for the development of both a potent, non-addictive pain reliever and also a way to treat patients with an opioid addiction. To solve this problem, we used computational methods and structural analysis to investigate the µ-opioid receptor binding cavity and its unique interactions with four different ligands: morphine, heroin, fentanyl, and naloxone. From the results, we have created a criterion of interactions that a potential opioid therapeutic should have.