To combat pain, scientists come up with new medicine sans addiction risk

To combat pain, scientists come up with new medicine sans addiction risk

It is not easy to get rid of chronic pain. And the opioids that one takes to treat pain carry the risk of addiction in the long run. Various studies are being conducted to create non-addictive opioids or alternative pain treatment options bereft of addiction risk. Keeping this in mind, a team of researchers recently came up with a new medicine that may have the potential to provide relief from pain without posing the risk of addiction.

According to the study, titled “A novel orvinol analog, BU08028, as a safe opioid analgesic without abuse,” the new medicine has the potential to be used in place of morphine, which is currently looked upon as the best available method of treating excruciating pain. The researchers of the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in August 2016, tested the efficacy of a compound called BU08028, similar to a prescription painkiller known as buprenorphine sold under the brand names Buprenex and Butrans.

Trials reflect new drug relieves pain minus adverse side effects

Trials were conducted on primates and it was observed that the medicine does not seem to slow down breathing, cause any heart disorders or cause a sense of dependence in animals. The new drug was also found to be more effective in alleviating pain than other painkillers available over-the-counter. The authors of the study suggested that the drug exhibited its impact by setting off “receptors” that actuate chemical pathways in the brain. During the research it was observed that one of the receptor systems diminishes some of the distressing side effects of the opioid drugs.

Stressing on the need to conduct human trials for further elucidation, Dr. Caleb Alexander, an associate professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said, “While the findings are of interest, animal studies are notoriously poor at predicting clinical outcomes in humans. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the first addiction-free opioid. There is not a product coming down the pike anytime soon with such characteristics.”

Similar findings lead to renewed hope

The findings further the observations of another research, conducted on laboratory rats, that led to discovery of a new medication PZM21 with the same potent effect as morphine in reducing pain. The drug, unlike opioids, did not pose any respiratory difficulties. And when given a choice, the rodents manifested no preference for the drug unlike in cases of morphine which they favored if available. The efficacy of the non-addictive drug in treating pain was noted in the study titled “Structure-based discovery of opioid analgesics with reduced side effects.”

The authors of the study, published in the journal Nature in August 2016, suggested the need to test the effectiveness of the drug because what works on rodents might not have a similar impact on humans.

Possible side effects of these medications need to be looked into before deeming it fit for pain treatment in humans. It would take some time before the medicines would be made available in pharmacies or shelves of health care practitioners. There is an imperative need for medications that contain the power of painkillers like Percocet, OxyContin and morphine, but do not carry addictive properties.

Scope of recovery

The United States is trying its best to get over opioid scourge. Innovations and inventions have failed to tackle the opioid epidemic that kills 40 Americans each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More and more Americans are currently feeling the brunt of chronic pain due to prolonged illnesses or major disorder.

If you or your loved one is addicted to prescription medicines, seek help from the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline of California. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-738-2770 or chat online to know about rehab centers in California.