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March 6, 2018

Scientists Separate Opioids’ Analgesic Effects From Their Dangerous Respiratory Effects

JAMA. 2018;319(9):855-856. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.12858

Opioids such as morphine and fentanyl have been used clinically to combat patients’ severe pain. However, their use has also been associated with a growing epidemic of opioid overdoses resulting in respiratory distress and death. This, along with misuse potential, puts opioids at the top of the list for investigators who are striving to develop safer analgesics for patients.

One team, from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute, recently created and characterized a range of compounds that block pain without affecting respiration.