Meperidine: Chemical | Organic composition

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 5:17 pm

Meperidine hydrochloride (the full name) is a synthetic opioid. It is synthesized by the reaction of chemicals not found in opium. Specifically, meperidine hydrochloride is produced by the reaction of dichlorodiethyl methylamine with benzyl cyanide, to produce ethyl l-methyl-4-phenyl-isonipecotate hydrochloride (meperidine’s chemical name). Some references to meperidine classify it as a totally synthetic opioid. Semi-synthetic opioids are produced by using one of the opiates as a starting material. Two examples of semi-synthetic opioids are hydrocodone and heroin. Hydrocodone is produced by the chemical modification of codeine, while heroin is made by chemically altering morphine.
Although morphine and meperidine are quite similar in their clinical effects, they are not that similar in chemical composition. The important chemical determinant of an opioid analgesic, however, is not its structural resemblance to morphine, but its ability to bind with and activate an opioid receptor.

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