A newly discovered painkiller is surprisingly powerful and non-addictive

An assortment of drugs and pills, including painkillers.

According to the CDC, more than 20% of people in the United States suffer from chronic pain and 7.4% of people suffer from chronic pain that has a significant impact on their lives. Image credit: Karynav/Shutterstock.com

Scientists have discovered a new, non-addictive painkiller that may prove to be a valuable alternative to opioid medications like morphine and oxycodone, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications.

The promising compound is called benzyloxy-cyclopentyladenosine (or BnOCPA for short). By testing the drug in model systems such as frog hearts, rat brains and human cells, the international team of researchers found that BnOCPA was found to be non-addictive, potent and selective in its painkilling action.

Most notably, it appears that the drug would not cause sedation, bradycardia, hypotension, or respiratory depression, which are common concerns with strong painkillers.

Many drugs work by interacting with proteins on the cell surface that activate adapter molecules called G-proteins. However, problems can arise because the activation of certain G-proteins can lead to other cellular effects. The beauty of BnOCPA is that it only activates one type of G protein, resulting in very selective effects and reducing potential side effects.

“It’s a fantastic example of serendipity in science. We didn’t expect BnOCPA to behave any differently than other molecules in its class, but the more we study BnOCPA, the more properties we’re discovering that have never been seen before. seen before and which could open up new areas of medicinal chemistry,” Professor Bruno Frenguelli, principal investigator on the project from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, said in a statement.

The drug has yet to be tested on a living, breathing human, but these results look promising. According to the CDC, more than 20% of people in the United States suffer from chronic pain and 7.4% of people suffer from chronic pain that has a significant impact on their lives.

Medications, such as opioids, which are often used to treat pain, can lead to unpleasant side effects, addiction, and overdoses. Given the very clear risks, the need for safe and potent new painkillers is enormous.

“The selectivity and potency of BnOCPA makes it truly unique and we hope that with further research it will be possible to generate powerful analgesics to help patients cope with chronic pain,” added Dr Mark Wall. , principal investigator of the School of Life Sciences at the University. University of Warwick.

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