Tuesday, August 06, 2013

We need better pain meds


My sister and I are creaking around with arthritis pain or (my case) swollen legs or (her case) back trouble. Not a day passes that we don't say, "Please, just  one day without hurting."

She went the opiate route for a while--helped but not good. She is off that. I take 3 Tylenols each morning to get through the pet emptying and feeding period on stiff robot legs with burning knees.

The rest of the day, I oo and ahh. Chronic pain affects one in five people.

Jeanne Whalen, WSJ, July 30, 2013, said they are looking into people who feel no pain for possible routes to helping others.

Feeling no pain is also not good--you can get burned or walk on a broken ankle and injure yourself. In poorer countries, such anomalies work in the streets sometimes, stabbing themselves for tips, etc.

This is due to mutations in a gene numbered SCN9A.

Pfizer and some smaller cos are working om methods tied to this gene. Instead of reducing inflammation as ibuprofen and Celebrex do, or switching on the body's pain killers as opiates do, this new idea seeks to block the signals going to nerve cells. The key seems to be something called sodium channels.

They are testing on people with an opposite condition--one which produces scalding pain from even minor warming.  They put a warm blanket on their legs and when the pain rachets up, give the drug.

No conclusions yet. But they are pretty sure addiction won't be a problem with this approach.

Bring it!

Hurry up. No weekends off. Chop chop.

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