One Step Closer to Non-Addictive Painkillers

Researchers have created a new chemical compound that produces morphine, but without the addictive effects of opioids.

Non-Addictive Painkiller / Image: mwinkler/Shutterstock
Non-Addictive Painkiller / Image: mwinkler/Shutterstock

According to the US National Institute of Drug Abuse, the U.S. experiences 115 opioid overdoses each day. But a recent article from Silicon Republic reports that non-addictive pain relief may be closer than we think. Apparently a team of scientists from Wake Forest School of Medicine has created a new chemical compound called AT-121 that works on both the mu opioid receptor, which is found in most painkillers, and the nociception receptor, which blocks addiction of mu opioids.

“In our study, we found AT-121 to be safe and non-addictive, as well as an effective pain medication,” said Mei-Chuan Ko of the research team. “In addition, this compound also was effective at blocking abuse potential of prescription opioids, much like buprenorphine does for heroin, so we hope it could be used to treat pain and opioid abuse.” The team will now conduct studies to determine safety and feasibility for human trials.

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