Nanoparticle Combination Painkiller to Save Lives at Home and on the Battlefield
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.”