News About Analgesia

IU School of Medicine makes breakthrough toward developing blood test for pain

February 12, 2019 | IU School of Medicine

A breakthrough test developed by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers to measure pain in patients could help stem the tide of the opioid crisis in Indiana, and throughout the rest of the nation. A study led by psychiatry professor Alexander Niculescu, MD, PhD and published this week in the high impact Nature journal Molecular Psychiatry tracked hundreds of participants at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis to identify biomarkers in the blood that can help objectively determine how severe a patient’s pain is. The blood test, the first of its kind, would allow physicians far more accuracy in treating pain—as well as a better long-term look at the patient’s medical future. “We have developed a prototype for a blood test that can objectively tell doctors if the patient is in pain, and how severe that pain is. It’s very important to have an objective measure of pain, as pain is a subjective sensation. Until now we have had to rely on patients self-reporting or the clinical impression the doctor has,” said Niculescu, who worked with other Department of Psychiatry researchers on the study. “When we started this work it was a farfetched idea. But the idea was to find a way to treat and prescribe things more appropriately to people who are in pain.”

Back to top

Report: Americans are now more likely to die of an opioid overdose than on the road

January 14, 2019 | NPR News

For the first time in U.S. history, a leading cause of deaths, vehicle crashes, has been surpassed in likelihood by opioid overdoses, according to a new report on preventable deaths from the National Safety Council. Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to the council's analysis of 2017 data on accidental death. The probability of dying in a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 103. "The nation's opioid crisis is fueling the Council's grim probabilities, and that crisis is worsening with an influx of illicit fentanyl," the council said in a statement released Monday.

Back to top

Senate passes legislation to fight opioid epidemic

October 3, 2018 | CNN

The Senate on Wednesday passed legislation intended to combat the opioid epidemic, in a rare moment of unity between Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The legislation was approved by a vote of 98-1 in the Senate and will now head to the White House for President Donald Trump's signature. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell referred to it as "landmark" legislation in remarks on the Senate floor on Wednesday, saying that the bill will bring "relief to American communities that have been decimated by the scourge of substance abuse and addiction."

Back to top

FDA pushes for development of non-opioid pain medications

August 29, 2018 | The Washington Post

The Food and Drug Administration is planning new steps to encourage the development of nonaddictive alternatives to opioid pain medications, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an interview. As part of the effort, the agency plans to withdraw its existing 2014 guidance to the drug industry on pain medicines. That document is overly broad, Gottlieb said, and is sometimes a barrier to new products and innovations. The current guidelines call for a large number of studies to get FDA approval for general use for chronic pain, he added. Over the next six to 12 months, the agency plans to issue several documents intended to spur development of medications for specific types of pain. The result should lead to smaller clinical trials, faster approvals and quicker launches of novel therapies, Gottlieb said.

Back to top