Analgesics are a collection of drugs that are used to relieve pain or in medical terms “attain analgesia.” These drugs reduce pain by acting on the central and peripheral nervous system of the body; examples of analgesic drugs include acetaminophen or paracetamol, opioid drugs, and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
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The selection for use of analgesics is determined by a patient’s response to other medication and the type of pain. Even in the face of rigorous research and considerable investments in pain relief mechanisms, almost all the analgesics present are derived from compounds that have been used for years. New developments on how analgesics work have been realized in recent times combined with knowledge of chronic pain and thereby giving hope to those patients whose desires are not met absolutely.
The development of new drugs continues to be a major challenge to researchers because of heavy investments in research and development and the fact that the majority of their submissions into the market do not work out as developed. Advancements to improve analgesic drugs can be classified into the following approaches: Approaches that target to make sure that the drugs are safe for use or improved utility of the drugs by correctly coming up with the correct dosages.
Advances in this area of research include the introduction of abuse-resistant formulations on the already existing drugs like tramadol and oxycodone and substitute delivery techniques such as administering the drugs in bits like oral fentanyl and lidocaine. Another approach is the development of compounds that are targeted at identified mechanisms specifically NSAIDs and opiates (Coull, 1020). The combination of drugs of the present compounds has been embraced to improve efficiency and reduce side effects.
Instances of these combinations include esomeprazole with naproxen and ibuprofen with oxycodone. Mechanistic classification of compounds is another approach, whereby, a group of analgesic drugs designed for certain medical conditions has been identified and products made to treat pain, examples include duloxetine, tapentadol, and celecoxib.
Several medicinal programs are being explored with the target of treating patients depending on the appropriation of nerve growth factor (NGF). The highly improved monoclonal antibody (tanezumab) is being deliberated upon in phases two and three to assess its efficiency, its well-being, and the ability of the patients to tolerate agonizing syndromes.
These pains include constant lower back pains, endometriosis, neuropathic pain, and pain of the bladder. Phase two of the studies have not yet been released while the antibody is being assessed further in phase three medical investigations on osteoarthritis patients aimed at comparing NSAIDS and therapeutic efficacy. Investigations are going on to determine the payback of the latest therapeutic approach (Aloe, 370).
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The sodium channels are being explored, for instance, the ability of the cola leaf to significantly reduce pain and it has been known for years that drugs with active components of cocaine which were made as substitutes like lidocaine and procaine offer great analgesia. It has been discovered that compounds in them take action by jamming the voltage entranced sodium channels, while these channels have a high ability to propagate pain.
But the use of analgesics of this class is inadequate because cardiac cells are involved, therefore, a lot of focus on research is being directed towards maximization of their treatment potential with contemporary approaches. For several years now, anticonvulsants have been used in the treatment of persistent pain such as carbamazepine and lamotrigine. They act by blocking the sodium channels especially in cases where the neurons are having high excitability.
For a long time, patients experiencing unending pain have been advised to use cannabis but recent studies have put in question their effectiveness and admissibility to patients. The Canadian government has approved the use of Sativex, a cannabinoid to reduce neuropathic pain especially in patients suffering from opiate resistance cancer, and has proved to reduce pain significantly and improve sleep when administered in addition to patients on rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers have been exploring the need to maximize the medical value of cannabinoids to reduce pain while at the same time minimizing the side effects. CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors have been replicated and several endocannabinoid ligands selected that include anandamide and arachidonylglycerol. The treating ability of endocannabinoids is its ability to control the spread of pain and perception by blocking catabolic enzymes that result in pain relief with minimal side effects.
An inhibitor called the FAAH is in the second phase of investigation for osteoarthritis and will also be tested on circumstances where cannabinoids have relieved pain (Zampieri, 609). Let us wait for the results of these phases to appreciate the pain relief originating from cannabinoids.
Even though a lot of investments have been put into the research of analgesics, the problems facing treatment remain. The Discovery of new drugs that can reduce pain effectively remains a challenge unless new means of pain relief armamentarium are adopted. Even though the new approaches are coming up with the increased submission of genetic advancements and heavy investments in research of analgesics, drugs invention remains a challenge.
Aloe, Lei. “Mast cells increase in tissues of neonatal rats injected with the nerve growth factor.” Brain Res. 1977: 133(2) 358–366. Print.
Coull, Jahil, et al. “BDNF from microglia.” Nature. 2005: pp 1017–1021. Print.
Zampieri, Nanak. “Mechanisms of Neurotrophin Receptor Signalling.” Biochem Soc Trans. 2006: (34) 607–611. Print.