New alternative to morphine may be safer, less addictive

New alternative to morphine may be safer, less addictiveA new drug shows to be a safer alternative to morphine and less addictive. The study was conducted on rats where researchers compared variants of the neurochemical endomorphin to traditional morphine. Effectiveness and side effects were measured in each variant.

Chronic pain is commonly treated with opium-based medications which can be quite addicting, and abuse of these drugs have led to overdoses. Furthermore, they can lead to impairment in motor skills and cause complications in the respiratory system. Lastly, patients can build up a tolerance to drugs, which prompts them to take more than the recommended dose.


Lead investigator James Zadina said, “These side effects were absent or reduced with the new drug. It’s unprecedented for a peptide to deliver such powerful pain relief with so few side effects.”

The new drug produced longer pain relief without reducing the rats’ breathing. The same dosage of morphine led to severe respiratory depression. Additionally, the new drug did not significantly impair motor function, which can be a serious concern for seniors, whereas morphine did.
When the drug was tested whether or not it would be addictive, they found that rats would stay in the same compartment where they received morphine in hopes to receive more, but rats who were administered the new drug did not. In another test, where the rats had to push a button to receive more of the drug, the morphine group continued to push the button while the other group did not.

Clinical human trials are expected to begin within the next two years.


Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.