An elite group of international researchers led by scientists from Stanford University, University of North Carolina and the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany has developed a new drug that works as a painkiller like morphine but without triggering and eliciting dangerous side effects such as respiratory suppression.
In a research study recently published in Nature, researchers said that they have identified the new opioid drug by using the computational techniques that allowed them to experiment and explore more than four trillion different chemical effects and interactions. The team of researchers also noted that they used the atomic structure of the brain’s receptors to reverse-engineer the novel drug that promises to block pain but does not have the potentially dangerous side effects.
While the drug compound has only been studied and tested on mice, the indication and implication of the drug may be massive. In the research experiment, the mice were exposed to a solution that contains the compound in varying degrees. Results showed that the mice displayed alternating and indifferent attitudes, which suggest that it has low addictive potential.
This novel drug compound is also known to not interfere with breathing, which remains to be the main cause of death in overdosing on painkillers. Moreover, the new drug also appears to bypass the brain’s dopamine-driven addiction to prevent drug-seeking behavior on mice.
More work still needs to be established to make sure that the compound is truly non-addictive. More tests are also needed to confirm it is as safe and effective in humans as it is for rodents. If this is confirmed, this drug could transform the fight against the ongoing epidemic of prescription painkiller addiction.