A tincture is an alcoholic extract of plant or animal material or solution of such low volatility substance. Tincture of opium which is also known as laudanum is an alcoholic herbal preparation containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight. Opium is a highly narcotic drug acquired as dried latex that contains approximately 12% of the analgesic alkaloid morphine.
It is obtained from opium poppy seeds (papaver somniferum). Opium is processed chemically to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids for medicinal use and other uses. Opium tincture is reddish brown in color and bitter in taste.
Opium tincture contains morphine and codeine and it is primarily used as an analgesic and cough suppressant. Opium tincture enhances the tone in the long segments of the longitudinal muscle and inhibits propulsive contraction of circular and longitudinal muscles. It is indicated for the treatment of severe fulminant diarrhea that does not respond to standard therapy and also in treating neonatal abstinence syndrome. It is available by prescription in the United States. In the United States, opium tincture is marketed and distributed by several pharmaceutical firms, each producing a single formulation of the drug, which is deodorized. Opium tincture remains in the British Pharmacoepia, where it is referred to as Tincture of Opium, B.P., Laudanum, Thebaic Tincture, or Tinctura Thebaica.
Major methods of preparation of opium include processing it into regular opium tincture (tinctura opii). Other methods include paregoric (tinctura opii camphorata), herbal wine (vinum opii), opium powder (pulvis opii), opium sirup (sirupus opii) and opium extract (extractum opii).Vinum opii is made by combining sugar, white wine, cinnamon, and cloves.
Legal growing of opium for medicinal use currently takes place in India, Turkey, and Australia. Afghanistan is the major producer of opium. Besides Afghanistan, smaller quantities of opium are produced in Pakistan, the Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia (particularly Burma), Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. In South American countries, opium poppies are technically illegal, but nonetheless appear in some nurseries as ornamentals. Legal opium production is allowed under the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and other international drug treaties, subject to strict supervision by the law enforcement agencies of individual countries. The major production method is the Gregory process, whereby the entire poppy, excluding roots and leaves, is mashed and stewed in dilute acid solutions. The alkaloids are then recovered via acid-base extraction and purified. Opium is also cultivated in UK for medicinal purpose. The United States is the largest consumer of prescription opioids. Thus, tincture of opium is also majorly consumed in these countries.
The increasing usage of opium tincture for medicinal applications in the pharmaceutical industry is expected to propel the market growth. However, adverse effects of opium tincture include euphoria, dysphoria, pruritis, sedation, constipation, reduced tidal volume, respiratory depression, as well as psychological dependence, physical dependence, miosis, and xerostomia. In addition, overdose of opium tincture results in severe respiratory depression or death. Long-term use can also lead to abnormal liver function tests; specifically, prolonged morphine use can increase ALT and AST blood serum levels. Thus, there are stringent regulations on the usage of opium tincture which is expected to hamper the demand for opium over the next few years.
Some of the key players in the opium tincture maket include GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, Johnson Matthey, and Mayne in Tasmania, Australia; Sanofi Aventis in France; Shionogi Pharmaceutical in Japan; and MacFarlan Smith in UK.