There are more than 500 experimental agents to manage pain in today’s research pipeline.
Development of tamper-resistant opioids is a major research effort. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 8 million U.S. patients use opioid drugs for pain, a ten-fold increase since 1995. Each year nearly 15,000 people die in the U.S. due to opioid overdose. Numerous tamper-resistant opioid products are in clinical development. Ongoing research is measuring their effectiveness in reducing opioid abuse.
Scientists are studying how opioid drugs affect cells through receptors on the cell surface. Researchers are working to identify different subtypes of these opioid receptors that may influence how individuals respond to opioid drugs. Ten different subtypes have been found so far. These offer targets to develop new drugs, and they also may improve pain treatment using current medicines.
Pain relief and side effects vary from drug to drug and from person to person. Identifying opioid receptor subtypes may help doctors use genetic information to prescribe the most effective pain medicine for each individual patient.
A number of other new pain medicines are being studied in clinical trials. A new type of NSAID, called CINODs (cyclooxygenase-inhibiting nitric oxide anti-inflammatory donators), are in late trials for the treatment of osteoarthritis pain. Early research is evaluating novel agents that use new pain-relief strategies. These include N-type and T-type calcium channel blockers, and two agents called GRT 6005 and 6006, which are being studied as potential treatments for chronic pain and neuropathic pain.
CDC July 2012, Prescription Painkiller Overdoses in the U.S.
Cowen Therapeutic Categories Outlook 2012