Newly discovered pathway for pain processing could lead to new treatments

The discovery of a new biological pathway involved in pain processing offers hope of using existing cancer drugs to replace the use of opioids in chronic pain treatment, according to scientists at McGill University.

Because many therapeutic options, such as opioids, for patients with chronic pain carry the risk of addiction and undesirable side effects, this breakthrough offers promising lines of research into chronic pain treatment, says Luda Diatchenko, professor at McGill’s Faculty of Dentistry and co-lead author of the new study

The scientists discovered that EGFR blockers, routinely given to lung cancer patients to inhibit tumour growth, were as potent analgesics as morphine in mouse models of inflammatory and chronic pain.

Full story at Science Daily

Survey Finds Many Doctors Underprescribing Buprenorphine

Doctors are underprescribing the opioid addiction medicine buprenorphine, according to a new survey of addiction specialists.

Buprenorphine can be used to treat opioid addiction in the privacy of a doctor’s office. Doctors who prescribe the medication must have a waiver allowing them to do so. Until recently, doctors with waivers could prescribe buprenorphine to 100 patients. This year, the cap was raised to 275, HealthDay reports. More than half of the doctors with a waiver said they were not currently prescribing the buprenorphine to capacity, according to the survey, which was presented at the American Psychological Association annual meeting.

Full story at drugfree.org

Why are doctors underusing a drug to treat opioid addiction?

A drug approved for private physicians to treat opioid addiction is being underprescribed, and a survey of addiction specialists suggests that many of them are not willing to increase their use of it, despite an expanding opioid addiction epidemic in the United States, according to research presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Two opioid replacement medications are currently approved for opioid use disorder: methadone, which under federal law must be dispensed from authorized clinics, and buprenorphine, which can be used to treat opioid addiction in the privacy of a physician’s office, so long as the physician has the proper waivers.

Full story at Science Daily

Compound derived from marijuana interacts with antiepileptic drugs

New research published in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic drugs. It is important for clinicians to consider such drug interactions during treatment of complex conditions.

Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound developed from the cannabis plant, is being studied as a potential anticonvulsant, and it has demonstrated effectiveness in animal models of epilepsy and in humans. An ongoing open label study (Expanded Access Program) conducted by investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is testing the potential of CBD as a therapy for children and adults with difficult to control epilepsy. The study includes 39 adults and 42 children, all of whom receive CBD.

Because all of the participants are also taking other seizure drugs while they are receiving the investigational therapy, investigators checked the blood levels of their other seizure drugs to see if they changed. “With any new potential seizure medication, it is important to know if drug interactions exist and if there are labs that should be monitored while taking a specific medication,” said lead author Tyler Gaston, MD.

Full story at Science Daily

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

Fewer Australian teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Aussie students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

More than 2800 Australian students aged 12-17 took part in a survey of drinking behaviour, conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology and the Population Health group at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

The results of the study, now published in the journal BMC Public Health, provide a snapshot of the prevalence of alcohol consumption among students, and the factors that most influence their drinking behaviour. This research has been supported by Cancer Council SA and SA Government.

Full story at Science Daily