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A new drug, developed at the University of Michigan, provides controlled release of a morphine antidote to prevent its dangerous side effects. The drug, a Naloxone derivative, has great potential for use both at home and on the battlefield.  (Source: Science Direct)

The new drug could literally save the lives of soldiers injured in battle.  (Source: U of M)
Morphine + special new drug + polymer nanoparticles = a lifesaver

With injury, chronic or sudden, comes pain.  The severity of pain can cause a variety of detrimental effects and dangers.  One of the most common pain-relievers, used both on battlefields and in hospitals at home, is Morphine. 

Morphine is a powerful pain reliever, but it has the unfortunate side effect of lowering blood pressure and depressing normal breathing.  Both effects can cause a shortage of oxygen in the blood stream, a potentially deadly stress on an already injured patient.  Typically in a hospital setting the effects are controlled with an antimorphine agent such as Naloxone, but on the battlefield, without the extensive monitoring equipment of a hospital, this becomes a dangerous art.

Now researchers at the University of Michigan have devised both a new drug and a new delivery system that promises to help control these side effects and bring safer, more effective pain relief to hospitals and to our soldiers serving overseas.

The new drug, a Naloxone derivative, transforms into Naloxone, only when blood oxygen levels dip to low, indicating the Morphine is interfering with breathing.  Describes Baohua Huang, Ph.D., the study’s first author and a research investigator at the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute and in Internal Medicine (MNIMBS), "When respiratory distress is too severe, that will trigger release of Naloxone, the antagonist (morphine-suppressing) drug. When the oxygen blood levels go up, that will stop the action of the antagonist drug and more morphine will be available."

The drug has been tested in human plasma.  MNIMBS researchers are now working on perfecting a dendrimer nanoparticle delivery package, basically a vesicle formed from ultra-small polymers, that can deliver both morphine and its safeguard in a common package.  The entire package will soon be tested on animals, in preparation for eventual human trials and deployment to the battlefield.

While drug development isn't always exciting, what's really exciting about this drug is its potential to literally save lives.  It promises to bring safer relief to millions.  Anyone who's suffered chronic pain, has a loved one who has suffered from chronic pain, or has had a loved one injured overseas in combat can appreciate that.

The new research is published in the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

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still highly addictive
By omnicronx on 9/25/09, Rating: 0
RE: still highly addictive
By danrien on 9/25/2009 1:35:44 PM , Rating: 2
It was a little weirdly worded, but I think that when the author said "at home", he meant "in America".

RE: still highly addictive
By rippleyaliens on 9/25/2009 3:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
Actually there are Morphine pumps that patients are given to them, to utilize on their own time. It is easy to criticize without ever having to utilize. On the battlefield.. SHOCK, is the killer as well, AND add to that PAIN. This device will help.. IT isnt an instant life saver, but IT IS GOOD. Instead of relying on someone to put a morphine tag on ya,, you have this device that will regulate it.

RE: still highly addictive
By karkas on 9/25/2009 7:00:49 PM , Rating: 2
Its still highly addictive and regardless of how 'safe' this approach makes it, its not like you are going to see anyone going home with it to administer themselves anytime soon. I'm just responding to the chronic pain statements as this scenario is highly unprobable. If you have the kind of pain that requires morphine, you will more than likely have it administered at a hospital. It would be vastly irrisponsible to just start giving this kind of drug out, just because one (of the many) safety issues surrounding it has been solved. And of course this assumes the patient stays within the dosage guidelines.(of what happens to be one of the most addictive drugs)

For starters morphine is availible orally, so there are pleanty (millions in the US alone)of people taking this medication outside of the hospital setting.

I am skeptical that this is bioavailible in an oral formulation (based on the abstract & likely pharmacodynamics), so that only leaves the battlefield/EMS & hospital where this might be utilized. Not chronic outpatient treatment.

I highly doubt there will be much of a market for this in the hospitals for 3 reasons off the top of my head. Most patients are already closely monitored, hypoxia doesn't necessarily warrant narcotoc reversal, and this product will be exceedingly expensive.

The only markets I see this being somewhat useful in is the battlfield or EMS. Where you either cant actively monitor the patient's status or you need pain relief without knowing other legal/illegal medications already ingested.

The bottomline is while very interesting, it seems more gimmicky than lifesaving.
I am somewhat knowlegable as a Dr. of Pharmacy working in hospital ICU settings.

RE: still highly addictive
By Samus on 9/26/2009 5:35:33 AM , Rating: 2
It has always been debated which outweighs the other: addiction or death. I'd pick addiction, because if you're dead, you won't have the opportunity to 'get better' in the end.

But that's just me.

RE: still highly addictive
By scrapsma54 on 9/27/2009 3:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think you need to play Haze

Stupid Bing Links
By elgueroloco on 9/26/2009 5:55:48 AM , Rating: 3
Can DT please kill the stupid bing links in the text of the articles? Those things are super irritating, and more often than not cause stack overflow errors on the computers at work. It's such an obnoxious means of advertising. I absolutely refuse to do anything with pop-up ads other than close them.

I try to avoid mousing over them, but scrolling up and down it can be hard to avoid. Please stop using those.

RE: Stupid Bing Links
By PrinceGaz on 9/26/2009 12:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
I hate them too which is why I block them in my browser settings. Currently I block all content from these sites (it's trivial to work out where they're coming from):


Note that I have no problem with advertising generally and don't block other content (except popups but no normal site uses them these days), I only block those annoyinh mouse-over sponsored links.

Did you hear it
By RU482 on 9/25/2009 1:05:53 PM , Rating: 2
I just heard the sound of Rush Limbaugh and Matthew Perry high fiving

RE: Did you hear it
By dragunover on 9/25/2009 3:22:47 PM , Rating: 1
What is this supposed to mean?
Rush Limbaugh wouldn't be able to understand this article anyways, he's too busy choking in his propaganda

By PrinceGaz on 9/26/2009 1:02:13 PM , Rating: 2
Are these nanoparticles anything like Borg nanoprobes? I don't want to be assimilated!

This reminds me of...
By geekman1024 on 9/28/2009 3:42:42 AM , Rating: 2
Nano-suit: "Maximum Pain!"

By JoeWho on 9/25/09, Rating: 0
PETA isn't going to like that.
By aguilpa1 on 9/25/09, Rating: -1
RE: PETA isn't going to like that.
By R3T4rd on 9/25/2009 11:09:18 AM , Rating: 3
Well this drug just makes me all gitty and happy. Gonna go hunt for more polar bear and penguins. You know we need more animals to test on right?

RE: PETA isn't going to like that.
By bupkus on 9/25/2009 11:58:31 AM , Rating: 3
Back under your bridge.

RE: PETA isn't going to like that.
By kattanna on 9/25/2009 12:17:33 PM , Rating: 5
why should i care what peta thinks?

RE: PETA isn't going to like that.
By dragunover on 9/25/2009 3:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
You really shouldn't. Infact, you probably should go against almost everything PETA says or any group against the choice of abortion - they're often psychotic killers with a snack of zeal on the side.

RE: PETA isn't going to like that.
By Etsp on 9/25/2009 4:51:07 PM , Rating: 2
I almost agree with your first statement about PETA. Your second statement however about Pro-Lifers however... completely off-base.

Perhaps you were being sarcastic... I don't know, I honestly can't tell, seeing as I agree somewhat with what you said about PETA.

RE: PETA isn't going to like that.
By 67STANG on 9/25/2009 12:31:22 PM , Rating: 2
That's great news. Will we get to see super-hot chicks locked up in cages for everyone to see? I personally love PETA protests.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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