Can Osteoarthritis Pain Medication Help Prevent Opioid Dependence?

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Can Osteoarthritis Pain Medication Help Prevent Opioid Dependence?

Can a drug used to treat osteoporosis prevent opioid addiction? That’s what researchers from Indiana University set out to discover in a new mice study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology. The study was supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Cancer Institute.

When researchers administered a combination of the osteoporosis drug and opioid morphine to male mice with neuropathic pain, they found the mice no longer became tolerant to morphine, and that lack of tolerance remained even after the experimental drug was discontinued.

The researchers say these findings show potential for this drug combo to be used on humans to treat pain with fewer side effects or to help wean opioid-tolerant individuals off of the drugs.

“The potential to quickly begin using this compound in combination with opioid-based medication to treat pain and reduce addiction makes this discovery very significant,” said lead investigator 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, in a statement. “We already know this drug is safe for use in people, so moving into human trials will not require as many regulatory hurdles.”

Thankfully, this isn’t the first or last study among researchers looking to find alternatives to addictive painkillers. More than 115 Americans die each day from overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, is a serious national crisis.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
Painkillers, synthetic opioids and heroin carry severe risks; if you or someone you love are showing signs of opioid addiction, please contact Seabrook. We can help you and your family to overcome the cycle of addiction and develop tools for living a sober and satisfying life. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs, call us today: (888) 223-0298.