Medication Development

A Promising Alternative to Opioid Pain Medications

This research shows:

  • An experimental compound with a dual action at two opioid receptors may provide powerful pain relief without many of opioids' harmful side effects.
  • The compound may also have potential as a treatment for opioid addiction.

A novel compound represents a potential advance toward the goal of nonaddicting analgesics that are at least as effective as opioids but without typical opioid liabilities. The new compound, called AT-121, may also have potential as a treatment alternative for opioid addiction.

Narrative of Discovery: The Quest for a Medication To Treat Methamphetamine Addiction, Part 3

Dr. Linda Dwoskin feels just one small step away from success in her effort to develop the first-ever medication to treat methamphetamine addiction. She and colleagues at the Universities of Kentucky and Arkansas have created a molecule that blocks methamphetamine’s addictive effects and completed preclinical testing without raising any red flags for undesirable side effects.

Promising Advances in the Search for Safer Opioids

  • Two novel compounds powerfully suppressed animals’ pain responses, while producing little or none of the respiratory depression and liability for misuse and abuse associated with morphine and other typical opioids.
  • One of the compounds was extensively tested in a monkey model, laying key groundwork for moving to human trials.
  • The other compound was identified using computational modeling based on x-ray crystallography of a receptor’s structure, and exemplifies that technique’s potential for identifying novel compounds that can meet highly specific therapeutic needs.

Quinine as a Tracer for Medication Adherence

Patients who don’t take their medications or take them other than as prescribed often put themselves at risk for problems including misdiagnoses, complications, and death. The resulting costs to the U.S. health care system have been estimated at $105 billion annually. In clinical trials, patient nonadherence to medication regimens can lead to inaccurate and misleading results, potentially delaying the introduction of effective new treatments.

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