Pain is perhaps the most universal medical symptom. More conditions are identified by pain than by perhaps any other factor, and management of pain is typically more important to patients than any other relief strategy.
We often assume that the arsenal of weapons against pain is already complete, that there are no new opportunities on the horizon. However, that assumption is inaccurate.
Pain relief is certainly achievable with the complement of drugs currently available, but not every case of pain is ideally managed with those drugs. The fact is that many drugs are not perfect, but they are the best available, so we proceed with them. As a result, business and government continue the pursuit of ever-better pain medications, addressing several problems with existing drugs.
Reducing Side Effects
There is no such thing as a drug with no side effects. There are some that have minimal impact and some that don’t impact every patient, but it takes only a glance at the label to know that the potential is there.
Research is trying to overcome this and help to build drugs that don’t carry a risk of damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, or other organs. Because so many drugs are taken over a long period of time, this research can take years, requiring a series of researchers and an effective means of biobanking that allows samples to be stored and tracked for many years. The complexity of that process alone sheds light on why these drugs take so long to develop. [Read more…]