What is it about?

For the first time, the pain relieving effects of so called NaV1.7 inhibitors in acute postsurgical pain was assessed here. Selective NaV1.7 inhibition, particularly by treatment with the spider venom peptide Pn3a, effectively reduced pain after surgery without causing observable side effects. Moreover, low doses of Pn3a, when combined with low (and therefore safe) doses of the opioids resulted in enhanced pain relieving effects. Strikingly, these super-additive pain relieving effects were also observed for the combination of low doses of Pn3a with low doses of another clinical drug, called baclofen in several pain models including post-surgery. This suggests these combinations as novel and likely safer treatment strategies (compared to high-dose opioids) for clinically improved pain management of postsurgical pain, especially since novel opioid-dose reducing (opioid-sparing) strategies are currently highly sought-after to reduce dangerous side effects.

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Why is it important?

Postsurgical pain is a severely undermanaged and very frequent condition (hundreds of millions of major surgerys every year) despite treatment according to current pain management protocols. This work presents a spider venom peptide with promising pain reliveing properties and shows that a new pain target, known as NaV1.7, is suitable for the development of new effective and safe painkillers. Opioid-dose reducing (opioid-sparing) strategies are desperately needed to reduce the high number of opioid-overdose related deaths (which are now number one of accidental deaths in the USA). Therefore, the identified benefits of Pn3a that allow pain relieve at much lower opioid doses will potentially help to safe lives.

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This page is a summary of: Antiallodynic effects of the selective NaV1.7 inhibitor Pn3a in a mouse model of acute postsurgical pain, Pain, August 2019, Wolters Kluwer Health, DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001567.
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