With painkillers facing accusations every waking hour, development of an avenue for enhancing such medications is duly justified. Doing just that, scientists from the University of Adelaide have uncovered a new way by which the beneficial effects of morphine could be improved.
Though morphine is cited to be an effective reliever for chronic pain, it does have an array of side-effects including resistance to the drug and excess reactivity to pain, the cause for which is still not unfolded.
“Because morphine is considered to be such an important drug in the management of moderate to severe pain in patients right around the world, we believe these results will have far-reaching benefits,” cited co-author Dr Mark Hutchinson, ARC Research Fellow in the University of Adelaide’s School of Medical Sciences.
Basically, the team found that these pain killing drugs apparently created an inflammatory response in the brain. The investigators found that morphine got linked to an immune receptor complex known as toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). If this relationship between the receptor and the drug is disrupted, the inflammatory response was averted, as seen in mice.
As per the findings of the trial, altering the aforementioned immune receptor could increase the efficacy of painkillers, while eliminating their negative effects. The report is published in the April 3 issue of the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).