A pre-clinical study led by Indiana University scientists reports a promising step forward in the search for pain relief methods without the addictive side effects behind the country’s current opioid addiction crisis.
The research, which appears in the journal Biological Psychiatry, finds that the use of compounds called positive allosteric modulators, or PAMs, enhances the effect of pain-relief chemicals naturally produced by the body in response to stress or injury. This study also significantly strengthens preliminary evidence about the effectiveness of these compounds first reported at the 2016 Society for Neuroscience Conference in San Diego, California.
“Our study shows that a PAM enhances the effects of these pain-killing chemicals without producing tolerance or decreased effectiveness over time, both of which contribute to addiction in people who use opioid-based pain medications,” said Andrea G. Hohmann, a Linda and Jack Gill Chair of Neuroscience and professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, who led the study. “We see this research as an important step forward in the search for new, non-addictive methods to reduce pain.”