Hope for painkillers using novel mechanism

Compounds that target receptors in the peripheral nervous system but not those in the brain, could lead to the development of new painkillers, research suggests.

Current molecules that target the endocannabinoid system produce pain relief in the body’s periphery. But they also enter the brain and can produce undesirable central nervous system side-effects.

Researchers from the University of California at Irvine have developed a compound that only activates receptors outside the brain and spinal cord.

Since the drug suppresses pain by a mechanism that is different from existing painkillers, it may be useful in the management of pain, the researchers said.

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