24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904

Pain Management
Basic InformationLatest News
Review: Cannabis May Alleviate Neuropathic PainOpioid Prescription Rates Higher in Cancer SurvivorsDoctors May Be Over-Prescribing Seizure Drugs to Treat Pain2 of 3 U.S. Patients Keep Unused Painkillers After SurgeryDoctors Still Overprescribing Opioids in U.S.Reduction of Opioid Dose May Improve Pain, Quality of LifeEasing Opioid Dose May Improve Pain and Quality of LifeAt-Risk Pain Patients Can Cut Opioid Use With Psychology ToolsHalf of Opioid Prescriptions Go to People With Mental IllnessNerve Zap Unlikely to Ease Low Back PainReaching Beyond the Prescription Pad to Treat PainRx Changes, Counseling, Regular Visits Can Cut Opioid Deaths3 Simple Steps Might Reduce Opioid OD DeathsWhen Is an Opioid Safe to Take?Patient-Controlled Analgesia Reduces Pain at Higher CostYoga Soothes Back Pain in StudyAcupuncture May Be Effective Painkiller in the ERFDA Asks Maker of Opioid Painkiller Opana ER to Pull Drug From MarketOpioids Over-Prescribed After C-Sections: StudiesPersistent Pain May Lead to Memory Troubles1 in 5 Weight-Loss Surgery Patients Using Opioids Years LaterTaking Opioids Before Knee Surgery Could Raise Pain LaterERs May Need to Rethink Opioid Prescription PracticesCommon Painkillers Tied to Slight Rise in Heart Attack RiskOpioid Use by Iraq, Afghanistan War Vets Mirrors Rest of U.S.: Study'Mindfulness' Probably Won't Cure Your Back Pain: StudyExpectations, Concerns Vary With Age for Adults at Pain ClinicMusic May Soothe the 'Savage Beast' of Post-Op PainThis Fanged Fish Might Someday Help Ease Your PainSteroid Shots Offer No Long-Term Relief for Low-Back PainInitial Rx Can Affect Likelihood of Long-Term Opioid UseOpioid Dependence Can Start in Just a Few DaysOpioid Painkillers and Xanax or Valium a Deadly Mix: StudyDiazepam Not Beneficial for Acute Low Back Pain in ERKids' OD Risk Rises When Opioids Left Out at HomeChronic Pain More Likely for Poor, Less Educated: StudySome Docs May Help Fuel Opioid Abuse EpidemicTry Drug-Free Options First for Low Back Pain, New Guidelines SayTwelve Percent of Women Fill Opioid Rx After Vaginal DeliveryLow Back Pain? Relax, Breathe and Try YogaOpioids and Alcohol a Dangerous CocktailTreatment of Hips Beneficial in Patients With Low Back PainCommon Painkillers Don't Ease Back Pain, Study FindsHigh Pain Tolerance Tied to 'Silent' Heart Attack RiskWhat You Need to Know When Prescribed an Opioid PainkillerDiscussing Opioid Risks With Patients Reduces MisuseVitamin D Replacement Improves Chronic Widespread PainCelebrex May Not Pose Bigger Heart Risk Than Similar Drugs: StudyMany Take Opioids Reluctantly for Back Pain: Survey'Fake Pills' May Help Ease Back Pain
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Medical Disorders
Mental Disorders

Non-addictive Painkiller Shows Promise in Animal Trials

HealthDay News
by By Randy DotingaHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Aug 30th 2016

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Aug. 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Preliminary research in monkeys suggests that a new medication might be able to provide pain relief similar to opioid drugs such as OxyContin, but without the same potential for addiction or serious side effects.

The experimental medication "has the potential to replace morphine as the gold standard for treating severe pain," said Andrew Coop. He's a professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and is familiar with the new study findings.

There's a critical need for a painkiller that packs the punch of drugs such as Percocet (acetaminophen/oxycodone), OxyContin (oxycodone) and morphine, but minus the negative effects, doctors say.

The United States is currently in the throes of an opioid addiction epidemic. More than 40 Americans die every day due to the misuse of opioids, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, the CDC reports that the sale of opioids has quadrupled since 1999. In March 2016, the agency issued new prescribing guidelines, hoping to stem the rise in addiction.

"About 100 million people in the United States alone are in need of better treatments for pain," said Dr. Stephen Waxman, a professor of neurology at the Yale University School of Medicine and VA Connecticut in New Haven.

"There is a clear need for more effective pain medications, which hopefully should relieve pain without central side effects due to an action on the brain -- such as sleepiness, confusion or double vision -- and without constipation or the potential for addiction," Waxman said.

The new U.S. government-funded study examined a compound -- called BU08028 -- that's similar to an opioid painkiller known as buprenorphine, said study co-author Mei-Chuan Ko. He's a professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Buprenorphine is known by the brand names Buprenex and Butrans. Under the trade name Subutex, buprenorphine is used to treat heroin addiction.

The researchers tested the new drug in monkeys and found that it doesn't seem to slow breathing, disrupt the cardiovascular system or cause addiction in animals. At the same time, Ko said, it appears to be better at reducing pain than over-the-counter painkillers.

The drug, Ko said, seems to work by triggering "receptors" that activate chemical pathways in the brain.

According to Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke, who's familiar with the study findings, one of the receptor systems dampens some of the troublesome side effects of opioid drugs. Liedtke is a professor of neurology and attending physician at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Ko said the researchers plan to develop the drug as a pill.

Dr. Caleb Alexander, an associate professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, is skeptical about the research. "While the findings are of interest, animal studies are notoriously poor at predicting clinical outcomes in humans," he said.

Alexander added: "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."

As for other caveats, Duke University's Liedtke said it's possible that the drug may not work against several varieties of pain like existing opioid painkillers do. He added that the new drug also may cause a stomach condition called gastroparesis, which he says is a common and aggravating side effect of opioids.

Study co-author Ko declined to speculate on when the drug would be ready for human testing or what its cost might be. But he said several other similar drugs are now in development, and he expects some will reach the next stage of research within a couple of years.

For now, Alexander said, "the two most important things that we can do regarding opioid safety is to use them less, and identify and treat those with opioid addiction."

The study was published online Aug. 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

For more about opioid painkillers, try the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.