PZM21 Could Replace Opioids In The Future
August 19, 2016
Last week, we wrote about the American opioid epidemic, specifically with regard to the use of prescription painkillers. Opioids are extremely effective at reducing one’s level of pain, but as we well know in the United States—such drugs are terribly addictive and carry the risk of overdose death. Without fail, as many as 78 Americans perish from an opioid overdose every day in America.
Naturally, it would be impossible to do away with prescription opioids completely. They are effective, and necessary for both the treatment of pain and various medical procedures. And while alternative forms of pain management are available, albeit underutilized, they are not going to be effective for everyone. Which is why it would be nice if a drug could be made that effectively treated patient pain, but was not accompanied by the risk of addiction and/or overdose. It’s possible that such a drug will be available in the not too distant future.
Pain Relief Without Addiction
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California San Francisco, have been working on painkiller that had shown a lot of promise with mice, The Los Angeles Times reports. The drug in question, known as “PZM21,” showed to be nearly as effective as morphine (opioid) at treating pain, but lasted for up to three hours (longer than morphine). The researchers report in the journal Nature.
The mice that were treated with PZM21 did not exhibit signs of addiction or constipation (a common side effect of opioid analgesics) according to the article. However, the drug did cause respiratory depression, much like opioids, but the symptom wore off before the drug’s analgesic properties dissipated. Morphine, on the other hand, causes respiratory depression which lasts until the drug is rendered ineffective.
“An ideal opioid would kill pain potently without producing morphine’s harmful respiratory effects, would show sustained efficacy in chronic treatments and would not be addictive,” said molecular biologist Brigitte Kieffer, an expert on opiate receptors, in an essay that accompanied the study.
Until The Perfect Drug…
It may be some time before non-addictive painkillers are prescribed by doctors. But, the latest research is a step in the right direction. It goes without saying that people will continue to use and abuse addictive painkillers. If you feel that your use of opioid narcotics has become an addiction, please contact Christians Drug Rehab. Our treatment center has created a specialized treatment program for those addicted to prescription opioids.