There are 1.9 million people in the United States who suffer from addiction to prescription opioids. Many who become addicted begin with a legitimate need for prescription pain medication for chronic or acute pain. Their use begins to spiral out of control within a few months and the individual is left with addiction, which is a serious brain disease. They have no control over the monkey on their back. Sadly few people successfully recover from addiction.
There were 47,055 prescription drug overdoses in 2015. 18,893 were fatal. These figures don't include illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US
There is a dilemma for people who suffer from true chronic and acute pain. Opioids are very effective in the treatment of pain for patients who are not responsive to steroid injections and other conservative treatments.
But according to Thomas Frieden, the director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), many prescription opiates on the market are as addictive as heroin, and poorly control chronic pain. Doctors should use therapies other than opiates first, including exercise or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, he said.
It's no surprise that scientists have been working diligently to develop an opioid medication to treat pain that is non-addictive, doesn't cause respiratory depression and is as effective at treating pain as narcotic pain relievers.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has published findings on a new pain-killing compound (called BU08028) It's not addictive and does not have adverse respiratory side effects like other opioids.
“Based on our research, this compound has almost zero abuse potential and provides safe and effective pain relief,” Mei-Chuan Ko, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest Baptist said. “This is a breakthrough for opioid medicinal chemistry that we hope in the future will translate into new and safer, non-addictive pain medications.”
A targeted a combination of classical mu opioid peptide (MOP) and non-classical nociceptin-orphanin FQ peptide (NOP) opioid receptors were used in the study. The behavioral, physiological, pharmacologic factors of the 12 primates used in the study demonstrated that BU08028 blocked the detection of pain, without causing respiratory depression, cardiovascular events or itching. The compound lasted 30 hours and even with repeated doses did not cause physical or psychological dependence.
Ko said, “To our knowledge, this is the only opioid-related analgesic with such a long duration of action in non-human primates. We will investigate whether other NOP/Mop receptor-related compounds have similar safety and tolerability profiles like BU08028, and initiate investigational new drug-enabling studies for one of the compounds for FDA’s approval.”