University of MichiganStudy experts from the University of Michigan have apparently developed a combination drug that assures a safer, more specific way for medics and fellow soldiers in battle conditions to provide a fallen soldier both morphine and a drug which may curb the risky side effects of morphine.

Nanotechnology is used to apparently formulate ultra-small polymer particles which may be supposedly competent of delivering the drugs into the body. Due to the development of the combination drug, it may be likely to gain an accurate feedback system that may carefully control the release of the drugs aboard the nanoparticles.

Soldiers who are injured in battle may usually be given morphine as soon as possible to ease pain. Morphine also has some negative side effects like it may lower normal breathing and blood pressure, occasionally to life-threatening levels. So medics may be required to give a short-acting drug that may help in normal respiration and heart beat, but in doses that may still facilitate the morphine to alleviate pain successfully.

The combination drug that has been developed by U-M scientists is claimed to make fair treatment probable even in battle areas. This was mentioned by James R. Baker, Jr., M.D., and director of the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences (MNIMBS) and the study’s senior author.

Baker, Ruth Dow Doan Professor and allergy division chief in the U-M Department of Internal Medicine, commented, “This system could improve pain management for millions of patients with chronic illnesses.”

The long-range goal of the research is to create a realistic technique that medics or soldiers themselves could administer, possibly via an auto-injector device.

U-M chemists have apparently monitored numerous compounds to look for a successful ‘pro drug’, a drug that may be discharged or turn into another drug. In this case, they were in need of one that could change into Naloxone, a drug which is claimed to be used to counter morphine’s effects, but could trigger only when blood oxygen levels fall too low. In laboratory tests via human plasma, one pro drug apparently effectively detected oxygen levels and turned on or off as required.

Baohua Huang, Ph.D., the study’s first author and a research investigator at the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute and in Internal Medicine, commented, “When respiratory distress is too severe, that will trigger release of Naloxone, the antagonist (morphine-suppressing) drug. When the oxygen blood levels go up, that will stop the action of the antagonist drug and more morphine will be available.”

MNIMBS scientists are going on with animal studies of the pro drug’s effects and may form a dendrimer that may deliver the pro drug and morphine, by means of a dendrimer platform technology formerly developed at U-M. They apparently anticipate proceeding to more animal and ultimately human studies.

This study was published in the September issue of Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters.