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New Drug Shows Promise for Pain Relief without Risks of Addiction

One of the most difficult parts of the opioid crisis has been the fact that so many people have become dependent on the drugs, even when taken as prescribed. As a result, countless people went on to develop more serious substance abuse and addiction problems. This scenario has led to ongoing research into finding medications that provide pain relief without the dangers of most of the narcotics on the market.

Recent preclinical research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that a new medication acts on both opioid and non-opioid receptors in the brain to ease pain without the harmful side effects other drugs produce. When researchers gave the compound, called BU08028, to primates, they experienced pain relief but didn’t become dependent on the drug. The primates found it “less rewarding than cocaine and two different opioids.”

Researchers found that doses of BU08028 between 10-30 times more powerful than were necessary to provide pain relief didn’t affect the primates heart nor slow down their breathing. Both of these are common side effects for humans who have taken high doses of opioids and can lead to overdose.

The primates were self-administering the BU08028 during the test period. By comparison, a second group of primates who were administered morphine did develop symptoms of physical dependence after receiving repeated doses. Those that received BU08028 did not show any symptoms.

The primates who were given morphine experienced withdrawal from the drug when their medication was stopped. These symptoms included increased respiratory rate, blood pressure and heart rate. The researchers concluded BU08028 did not lead to symptoms of dependence and withdrawal in the primates who had ingested it.

The new compound was developed in a medical laboratory. It holds promise for the approximately 100 million people in the United States currently living with chronic pain. If this compound is fully developed and eventually is made available to the consumer market, it could mean that human patients may get symptom relief, without the concern of opioid misuse they, and their doctors, are constantly living with.

Much more research will be necessary before BU08028 would be ready to be tested in humans, but the side-by-side primate study shows promise. As medical research continues, various alternatives will eventually developed that will save thousands, if not millions of lives over time, as opioid addiction is one of the biggest problems facing our country today.

If you have a loved one struggling with an addiction to painkillers or any other drug, contact Acceptance Recovery Center today for more information on how we can help.