These days the US is confronting with addiction and overdose epidemic caused by medication with opioids. Patients who get this powerful treatment are suffering from chronic pain. But treating their pain with opioids comes at a cost of increasing dosage and risking addiction. There are little options, the alternative to them being a non-opioid drug, gabapentin (known as its brand name Neurontin) which is used in neuropathy.
Researchers Have Developed a Class of Painkillers to Replace Opioids in the Future
The compound they worked on appears to be as effective as opioid treatments but studies haven’t yet been reached clinical trials.
In order to treat pain which arises from damaged nerves, researchers have discovered that two receptors (the sigma-one receptor protein = σ1R and the sigma 2 receptor = σ2R also called transmembrane protein 97 = Tmem97) were good pathways to be exploited. This way neuropathy could be treated with the help of the new compound.
The study was conducted on mice so far and results showed that three compounds activated σ2R/Tmem97 and the mice which suffered from spinal nerve pain had a smaller discomfort.
Researcher James Sahn stated that they started with chemistry in their laboratory and reached a stage in which they discovered that there was a possibility of improving people’s lives by treating them from chronic pain.
A compound found in the painkiller (UKH-1114) calms pain with just a small dose (one-sixth of the gabapentin dose) and lasts for 48 hours instead on 4-6 hours.
The New Painkillers Will be Studied in Clinical Trials
Before reaching the pharmaceutical market, the painkiller will have to be further studied in human trials, after they establish a dosage, whether it’s effective or not and what could be the side effects in humans.
Since opioid drugs in America have caused a federal state of emergency, this painkiller would be a great solution to opioids and will prevent deaths resulting from addiction or overdosing. The replacement will not grant a solution to the current issues, but it would be a better option.