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New Drug Offers Potential Alternative to Addictive Opioid Painkillers

There are over 50 million people in the US who currently have to cope with the debilitating effects of chronic pain. Dealing with chronic pain issues is complex as each case is unique and needs an individual treatment plan. Because of this complexity and other constraints physicians are too quick to administer the common “cure-all” for chronic pain issues—painkilling medication.

Over the past twenty years or so the most effective painkillers have been opioid-based, but of course that has led to the over-prescription and over-reliance on opioid-based painkillers that has created the current opioid epidemic gripping the US. Finally, there is some better news as scientists may have developed a new painkiller that could free the US from its current reliance on opioids when it comes to the treatment of chronic pain.

Nociceptors are Neurons Within the Brain Tasked with the Transmission of Pain Signals

The main culprit behind sensations of chronic pain within the body are sensory neurons called nociceptors. These acts as triggers—when a nociceptor senses that your body is experiencing trauma, it sends an instant signal to the brain that encourages you to do something to stop the damage. The more intense the damage—like touching something hot and burning your skin—the more intense the signal. These signals are interpreted by the brain as pain and painful sensations are, of course, intensely unpleasant.

Unfortunately, there are times when the trauma being experienced by the body cannot be immediately rectified. Conditions such as arthritis, cancer, or serious physical trauma are long-term issues that require lengthy treatment if treatment is possible. As the condition simply does not “go away,” neither does the pain.

It is the Aim of Painkillers to Block the Work Done by Nociceptor Neurons

Opioid-based painkillers work by blocking the actions of the nociceptors. They are prevented from sending pain signals, so you are prevented from feeling pain. Unfortunately, opioids give other pleasurable sensations that can become addictive.

Now scientists at the University of São Paulo have developed a new drug, labelled TAT-pQYP. It has been successful in treating mice suffering from pain due to inflammation. This drug seems capable of switching nociceptors off altogether without the other pleasurable and addictive sensations created by opioids. With further investigation, it is hoped that this new drug could become an even more effective treatment for chronic pain in humans than opioids and help to ease the current reliance on opioid-based painkillers.

If your life has been affected by opioids and you want help, contact Advanced Rapid Detox. Call us at (800) 603-1813 or contact us online here.