In DepthBiomedicine

New pain drugs may lower overdose and addiction risk

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Science  31 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6405, pp. 831-832
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6405.831

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As the opioid crisis continues to ravage U.S. communities, scientists and drug companies have intensified their efforts to develop safer and less addictive pain medications. Now, multiple research groups are claiming progress in devising novel opioids—or alternatives—that seem to offer pain relief with far less risk of addiction or of the opioid-induced respiratory depression that all too commonly leads to death. One novel compound activates the same protein in the brain as do opioids. But because it does so more slowly it appears to trigger less addictivelike behaviors. Other compounds, meanwhile, affect separate protein targets altogether, and also offer new hope for safer pain medications.