The quest for a non-addictive opioid analgesic that doesn’t cause respiratory problems with increased doses has been a target of scientists for decades.
Did someone find something new?
In today’s edition of the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center published findings on a new pain-killing compound (called BU08028) is not addictive and does not have adverse respiratory side effects like other opioids.
“Based on our research, this compound has almost zero abuse potential and provides safe and effective pain relief,” Mei-Chuan Ko, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest Baptist said. “This is a breakthrough for opioid medicinal chemistry that we hope in the future will translate into new and safer, non-addictive pain medications.”
The study included 12 primates, and targeted a combination of classical mu opioid peptide (MOP) and non-classical nociceptin-orphanin FQ peptide (NOP) opioid receptors. Ko and his colleagues examined behavioral, physiological and pharmacologic factors and demonstrated that BU08028 blocked the detection of pain without the side effects of respiratory depression, itching or adverse cardiovascular events. With respect to pain relief for the primates, it lasted up to 30 hours and repeated administration of the compound did not cause physical dependence.
“To our knowledge, this is the only opioid-related analgesic with such a long duration of action in non-human primates,” Ko added. “We will investigate whether other NOP/Mop receptor-related compounds have similar safety and tolerability profiles like BU08028, and initiate investigational new drug-enabling studies for one of the compounds for FDA’s approval.”
The study, “A novel orvinol analog, BU08028, as a safe opioid analgesic without abuse liability in primates,” can be found here: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.