Designing Safer Analgesics via mu-Opioid Receptor Pathways

Pain is both a major clinical and economic problem, affecting more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. While a variety of prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medications are available for pain management, opioid medications, especially those acting on the m-opioid receptor (mOR)and related pathways, have proven to be the most effective, despite some serious side effects including respiration depression, pruritus, dependence, and constipation. It is therefore imperative that both academia and industry develop novel mOR analgesics which retain their opioid analgesic properties but with fewer or no adverse effects. In this review we outline recent progress towards the discovery of safer opioid analgesics.


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