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New Compound Could Break Cycle of Treatment and Addiction

Purdue pharmacy researchers

Purdue researchers discover pain treatment compound.

Purdue University researchers have recently discovered a compound that could lead to treatment of chronic pain without patients having to rely on opioids. This discovery could be a major victory in the battle against opioid addiction due to prescription medications. Unfortunately, many who are addicted to opioids begin this addiction by being prescribed pain medications for various ailments by their physician.

Many who are in active addiction know how to work the health care system to get the opioids they want. They also know which doctors will prescribe without any questions.

A team of researchers at Purdue University have identified a new drug compound that might be able to break this cycle of treatment and addiction.

The compound could be used in the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain, although not acute pain, said team leader Val Watts, a professor at Purdue’s College of Pharmacy.

The compound could be used in the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain, although not acute pain, said team leader Val Watts, a professor at Purdue’s College of Pharmacy.

This new found compound works by inhibiting the messages sent by adenylyl cyclases enzymes, often responsible for chronic pain. 

This new compound differs from opioid drugs because it is far more selective in what it inhibits. To date, it is the only known compound to selectively repress these enzymes.

Watts also mentioned that the new compound may not be rewarding. “Opioids” he added, “are very rewarding.”

Preliminary testing has only been done on mice and not by Watt’s team. Those trials have indicated very positive results.

A provisional patent has been filed yet Watts does state that it will be years before the compound becomes a drug and is available to others. 

A barrier Watts reveals is securing the funding needed to advance the project.

“We’re struggling to get support from the National Institutes of Health. … We’ve been operating on a shoestring budget,” Watts said.

Watts and his colleagues are confident that should the compound become a drug and enter the market, it will be well received by medical professionals. 

“I’m optimistic and excited about the project, but I’m also pragmatic that it’s a long ways away from being a drug,” Watts said.

Although this compound is very new in its inception into a drug, it is promising that researchers see addiction as an issue that needs to be addressed. Hopefully, we will see this project get the funding it needs to continue developing this compound into the life saving drug it has the possibility to be. 

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