Sunday, 14 July 2013

Puffer Fish Venom For Neuropathy Pain

Today's post from (see link below) is a curious one in that it talks about a drug developed from puffer fish venom to combat chronic pain. We've heard of of neuropathy pain drug developments with spider and snake venoms, so maybe it's not such a stretch of the imagination. It relates the drug to chemotherapy patients with neuropathy but is theoretically applicable to all neuropathy pain sufferers. Although not mentioned in the article, the drug's name is Tetrodotoxin.

Pufferfish toxin helping chemo patients
Posted: Feb 13, 2013 By Charlie Keegan, Charlotte County Reporter


One of the most poisonous animals on planet earth is helping Southwest Florida cancer survivors deal with the side effects of chemotherapy.

A Port Charlotte research clinic is testing a new drug which uses toxins from the pufferfish to eliminate pain.

Joyce Klingle, a participant in the clinical trial, says she is on her feet a lot.

"When you're at work, you just keep going. When your feet hurt, that's too bad you just keep going," she said.

The manager at post net beat breast cancer six years ago; but chemotherapy left her with neuropathy in her feet and fingertips.

She described the painful disease.

"It's burning pins and needles pricking the bottom of your feet all the time. Your fingertips get numb and you can't pick up anything; you can't hold anything," Joyce Klingle, Clinic Trial Participant

She tried different pain medication, but nothing worked. It still hurt to move packages and stand all day long.

"I would go home at night almost in tears" Joyce Klingle, Clinic Trial Participant

Then the folks at Med-Sol research clinic called and explained they are testing a new drug using toxins from the pufferfish to treat the pain.

"I just wasn't sure. Pufferfish - really?" Klingle said, describing her initial reaction to the mediation.

The trial requires patients like Klingle to get eight shots in four days. The clinic monitors the results while working to get the drug FDA approved.

"It's the best thing I ever did," Klingle said

Sheila Catton was the first person in the United States to participate in the study. It used to be painful for her to straighten out her fingers; now she's pain free and recommends others follow suit.

"By the third day I could actually straighten my hands out," she said. "I can't imagine anyone having neuropathy who wouldn't be willing to try it."

There are only 15 patients enrolled across the country; the drug is still years away from being approved.

The side effects they've found include tingling in the lips and a metallic taste. But officials we spoke with explained neither lasts long after getting the shot.

There are always risks with a clinical trial; but we haven't heard from a doctor specifically calling out the drug.

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