RED HOT Contributors

 

Inside The Pursuit of Non-Opioid Pain Relief

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With growing awareness about the risks of becoming hooked on opioid painkillers, researchers and pharmaceutical companies are pursuing options for pain relief that do not carry the same risk of addiction—despite the fact that 20 years ago, drug companies “failed miserably” to develop non-opioid pain relief, according to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

One promising medication was tanezumab, which was developed in the early 2000s by a company that was later bought by Pfizer. The medication works by blocking nerve growth factor, a protein that the body makes in response to pain. Despite the fact that tanezumab proved effective at pain relief, research was stalled when it was discovered that the drug may affect joint repair and regeneration. 

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