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New Painkiller with Higher Efficiency, Less Side Effects

New Painkiller with Higher Efficiency, Less Side Effects

Monday, 3 September, 2018 - 05:15
A large field of poppies on the outskirts of Jelawar village in the Arghandab Valley north of Kandahar, Afghanistan, in April. Bob Strong/Reuters/File
New York - Asharq Al-Awsat
Scientists have developed a new painkiller, which has the same morphine effect when given at a hundred times lower dose. The new drug is still under trial. According to a study published Saturday in the US Science Translational Medicine journal, the AT121 compound does not cause the same side effects caused by other harsh painkillers.

Mei-Chuan Ko, professor at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said: “In our study, we found AT-121 to be safe and non-addictive, as well as an effective pain medication. In addition, this compound also was effective at blocking abuse potential of prescription opioids, much like buprenorphine does for heroin, so we hope it could be used to treat pain and opioid abuse."

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, more than 115 people die from opium overdoses each year in the United States.

Over 21-29 percent of patients with medical prescriptions including opium compounds used to relieve chronic pain have suffered from subsequent addiction. As of July 2017, opium addiction cases increased by 30 percent in 42 US states.

The currently marketed opium drugs focus on the so-called opioid receptors, a part of the brain that works to help people not to feel pain. Researchers have been working on developing a drug that can stimulate this part of the brain to avoid the side effects of opium, mainly addiction, shortness of breath, and increased sensitivity to pain later.

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