Researchers and doctors at Cersci Therapeutics and the University of Texas-Dallas are developing a new drug that could prevent or cut down opioid addiction and overdoses.
As many as 1 in 4 people who treat chronic pain with opioids, such as Vicodin, oxycotin, morphine, hydrocodone and fentanyl, struggle with addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are addicted to opioids are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.
A team of medical professionals at Cersci and UT-Dallas are developing an alternative medication to treat pain.
“Our idea has been to try to target chronic pain at the source in the sensory nervous system where pain signals originate,” UT-Dallas' Dr. Ted Price said. “We want to reverse that or at least inhibit it without having side-effects in the brain."
The major shift stems from a molecule that can treat the physical pain without affecting brain receptors that can trigger addiction. This molecule has been tested on animals. Doctors are enthusiastic about the results.
Cersci Therapeutics' Lucas Rodriguez said the team thinks they will be able to treat patients with chronic lower back pain, diabetic neurotherapy, migraines and more.
“There is strong scientific rationale and early efficacy in our rodent models to suggests that this molecule will help a wide variety of patience who are in pain," he said.
The Surgeon General recently released staggering statistics, stating 78 people die every day from overdoses to prescription painkillers. The Dallas-based company would like to start clinical trials on people in one year. They would like to have the drug in capsule form in three to four years.