One approach to developing nonaddictive pain medications is to reduce pain without engaging the brain's pleasure and reward circuits, but drug candidates so far have been hampered by side effects or are less effective than opioids, Edward Bilsky of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences said at the Society for Neuroscience meeting. Other approaches include treatments that use venom or target brain circuits that amplify or depress pain perception.
Researchers are developing alternatives to opioid medications, and Dave Thomas at the National Institute on Drug Abuse says rather than one magic bullet, the solution may be having a number of different drugs that work for certain populations. University of Iowa pain expert Kathleen Sluka said the biggest mistake in pain research has been assuming all chronic pain is the same.
An FDA public health advisory warns people not to use the botanical kratom, which has opioid properties, is addictive and has been tied to 36 deaths. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said the agency is working to prevent shipments of kratom, which is touted as a treatment for pain, anxiety, depression and opioid withdrawal, from entering the US.
Two widely used opioid addiction treatments are yielding similarly effective results, according to a study published in The Lancet. Vivitrol, which is administered as a monthly shot, had a 52% relapse rate, while Suboxone, a daily dissolving strip that's placed on the tongue, had a 56% relapse rate, researchers say.
Wisconsin-based Gundersen Health System's pain management program, designed to reduce opioid use, has led to an increase in the use of alternative therapies such as chiropractic care, physical therapy and acupuncture. Gundersen established a chronic pain committee, created a registry of patients using opioid medications and a chronic pain agreement, and established prescribing guidelines as part of its program.
Study data presented at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting showed physician office visits that involved opioid drugs decreased from 12.6% in 2014 to 10.5% in 2015, after increasing steadily since 2006. There were more office visits that involved opioids in rural areas, compared with metropolitan areas, and the highest rate was for established patients visiting their primary care physicians.
APS will hold its Annual Scientific Meeting in the form of a Scientific Summit March 4-6, 2018, with a balance of clinical, translational and basic science research around a central theme: Understanding Pain Mechanisms. Register by December 1 for a chance to win a free hotel night at the Disneyland® Hotel! Learn more.
Submissions for the 2018 Data Blitz are now being accepted. The Clinical and Basic Science Data Blitz will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif., as part of the APS Annual Meeting. This year's Data Blitz will include selected presentations of new research in a rapid format, with presenters having 5 minutes to present data and 5 additional minutes for questions from the audience. Learn more.