The face of pain management could soon change in a big way. The development of an addiction proof painkiller may be on the horizon, and this could provide hope for millions of people if additional animal testing works out.
Research is being conducted on Naloxone, an overdose antidote that could reduce pain without the potential for addiction. Naloxone is said to boost the effectiveness of other painkillers, reduce their addictive properties and diminish chronic pain. The need for such a drug has never been greater.
Pain management is a complicated field because the go-to drugs have been opioids. While they do provide excellent pain control, even for the most severe pain, their drawbacks are nearly as well known. Drugs such as OxyContin have wreaked havoc on society and are often blamed for the out-of-control rates of abuse, addiction and accidental overdose.
Rodents In The Study Weren’t Getting Pleasurable Effects From The Drugs
According to a study conducted by the Journal of Neuroscience, when rodents were administered the drug Naloxone in conjunction with another opioid medication such as Morphine, they didn’t show some of the distinctive signs of addictive behavior. This includes developing a fondness for the place they received the dosage and self administering the drug. Researchers said this shows the rodents weren’t getting pleasurable effects from the drugs.
Blocking the high from opioids is a big deal. This is often the hook for people who use these drugs recreationally. Researchers had believed this was not possible because previous attempts to decrease addictive characteristics of opioids in the brain have not been successful. A result of the study demonstrates that the unsavory effects of opiates such as the high, dependence and withdrawal are caused by immune cells in the brain and not the neurons as previously thought. This evidence showed researchers they might have been looking at the wrong pathways of the brain all along.
Past Hopes Were Dashed When Certain Drugs Didn’t Turn Out To Be Safe Options
Researchers should proceed with cautious optimism. Sure, there is reason to be hopeful. The problem of opiate addiction is an epidemic. People need to know they have options should they become injured or develop an illness or condition. Some people choose to suffer or find pain management alternatives because of their fear of opioids and their effects.
The problem is that researchers in the past have gotten their hopes up. After all, heroin was touted as a safer, less addictive alternative to morphine. That didn’t pan out so well. The same was expected from OxyContin. And, opiate replacements such as Suboxone were supposed to be abuse proof. Hopefully, the research and possible clinical trials will show that Naloxone can overcome these possible pitfalls.