News of the WeekMedicine

A Sigh of Relief for Painkillers

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Science  11 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5630, pp. 150
DOI: 10.1126/science.301.5630.150a

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Opiates are powerful painkillers, but they come with some baggage: a troubling tendency to depress breathing. By giving an experimental drug along with a narcotic, researchers report on page 226 that they eliminated the opiate's potentially lethal side effect while preserving its ability to blunt pain.