Monday, 1 February 2016

Is Endomorphin The 'Super Morphine' That Will End The Need For Opioids?

Today's post from (see link below) could signal the breakthrough all neuropathy patients experiencing chronic pain have been waiting for. It talks about using 'endomorphin' as an alternative to morphine and other opioids but without the side effects! (There will be a follow up post from another source tomorrow.) The endomorphin drugs are peptide-based, and target the same pain-relieving opioid receptor as morphine. Endomorphin is naturally produced in the body but targeted endomorphin drugs may certainly be able to replace opioids in the spectrum of neuropathic pain treatments. It's an old story but it's only at the rat-testing stage at the moment and will be two years before human testing begins but the potential is obvious. More information in tomorrow's post.

Researchers reveal ‘super morphine’ that has all of the painkilling properties but is NOT addictive
By Lisa Ryan For Published: 29 January 2016 

 A neurochemical has all the painkilling effects of morphine, scientists say
Endomorphin is not addictive and has fewer side effects, a study revealed
And, endomorphin doesn't cause the same respiratory depression
This new drug could offer pain relief without risking opioid addiction

Health officials have frequently warned of the opioid epidemic sweeping America.

There has been a 200 per cent increase in opioid-related deaths since 2000 – with many of those deaths occurring because of prescription painkillers, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

However, scientists may have the answer - a powerful painkiller that isn’t addictive.

Endomorphin – which is found naturally in the body – can be as strong as morphine, but with fewer side effects, according to a study from Tulane University.

Dr James Zadina, a professor of medicine, pharmacology and neuroscience, 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 study, published in the journal Neuropharmacology, tested several engineered variants of the neurochemical endomorphin on rats.

The scientists compared endomorphin to morphine – in an attempt to measure the drugs’ effectiveness and side-effects.

The endomorphin drugs are peptide-based, and target the same pain-relieving opioid receptor as morphine.

Opium-based drugs are the most common treatments for severe and chronic pain – but they can be severely addictive.

Opioid abuse leads to overdose deaths across the world.

Furthermore, the drugs can cause motor impairments and potentially fatal respiratory depression.

And because patients build up tolerance over time – there is a higher risk for abuse and overdose.

The study found the new endomorphin drug offered longer pain relief without substantially slowing the breathing in rats.

A dose of morphine that was similarly potent produced ‘significant respiratory depression,’ the study said.

Additionally, impairment of motor coordination – which is of particular significance to older adults – was higher after morphine.

But, motor coordination wasn’t impaired with the endomorphin drug.

The study found the new drug produced far less tolerance than morphine.

It’s unprecedented for a peptide to deliver such powerful pain relief with so few side effects

It also didn’t produce spinal glial cell activation – which is an inflammatory effect of morphine that can contribute to tolerance.

Several experiments tested whether the drug would be addictive.

One found that while rats would spend more time in a compartment where they received morphine, the new drug didn’t affect that behavior.

Another test found that when the press of a bar produced an infusion of the drug, the rats increased efforts to obtain morphine.

Yet, they did not increase efforts to get the new drug.

Dr Zadina noted that these tests are ‘predictive of human drug abuse.’

The scientists hope to conduct human clinical trials of the new drug within the next two years.

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