What is it about?

Morphine and other strong opioid pain-killers are used to alleviate moderate to severe pain that may occur following surgery or major trauma, as well as for the relief of chronic cancer-related pain. Apart from pain relief, opioid pain-killers also produce an array of side-effects including nausea and vomiting, sedation, respiratory depression, constipation, tolerance, and addiction/abuse liability. Of these, respiratory depression is of the most concern owing to the potential for fatal consequences. In the general community, opioid overdose or co-administration of opioids with alcohol or other medications that depress the central nervous system, may evoke respiratory depression. In this paper, we review the latest research aimed at identifying non-opioid respiratory stimulants that can reverse opioid-induced respiratory depression but without diminishing opioid-induced pain relief.

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Why is it important?

The opioid epidemic, particularly in the US, has focused attention on the discovery of non-opioid respiratory stimulants to reverse opioid-induced respiratory depression whilst retaining pain relief. To date, only a few molecules have entered clinical development and so considerable work remains before respiratory stimulant molecules with promising research data in animals or humans, become available for use in clinical practice.

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https://f1000research.com/articles/9-91/v1?src=rss

Maree Smith
University of Queensland

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This page is a summary of: Countering opioid-induced respiratory depression by non-opioids that are respiratory stimulants, F1000Research, February 2020, Faculty of 1000, Ltd., DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.21738.1.
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