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Local scientists offer hope in the fight to stem the opioid crisis

Posted at 6:06 PM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 09:28:03-05

Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter are on a mission to help better the lives of people battling diseases. They are also working to reduce the side effects of opioids.

"Respiratory depression, where you lose consciousness that's what killed Prince and other celebrities. Potential for addiction and constipation, nausea, tolerance where you have to take more and more drug to get the same pain relief," said Dr. Thomas Bannister.
Dr. Bannister said he and Dr. Laura Bohn worked on reducing someone's pain without the side effects for five years. They found a solution.  "Hopefully even if you took 10 tablets instead of 1, it wouldn't kill you. You wouldn't experience the respiratory collapse and we also think we have early evidence that it will eliminate some of the other side effects." 

The next step for the pill is to go through clinical trials.

"We found the needle in the haystack; made it better and better and we think it's really exciting because it could change the way pain is really treated. It could provide a much safer alternative for physicians and patients who are dealing with severe pain," Dr. Bannister said. 

The findings were published in Cell and was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Dr. Bannister says it will take about five more years for clinical trials and the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.