Due to the dramatic and widespread increase in opioid addiction, the scientific community has responded by investing in new therapies to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal and treatments designed to address addiction issues.
In addition to that good work, some researchers are also asking that we spend time investigating the underpinnings of addiction. Specifically, they suggest that we should learn more about the basic biology of pain and how precision medicine can help us predict how patients will respond to certain prescription painkillers.
In an article published recently in the journal Science, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania recommend that we adopt a paradigm shift. Instead of solely focusing on treatment methodologies, we should also go back to the basics and investigate the nature of pain and how people differ in their response to various pain medications. Armed with this information, clinicians can administer prescription painkillers more precisely and reduce the risk of triggering an addiction.
\”Pain is a syndrome that is poorly understood and research on pain is poorly resourced relative to its prevalence and cost, especially in terms of shattered lives and lost productivity,\” writes Tilo Grosser, MD, one of the lead authors and an associate professor of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania.
To tackle the opioid epidemic, the researchers suggest that we employ a broader strategy. Specifically, addiction research should help us better understand the physiology of pain. They recommend that additional studies should investigate how and why individuals respond differently to pain. And, the researchers also suggest that more can be learned by exploring the difference between inflammatory and neuropathic pain, the heritability of pain awareness and the spectrum of acute and chronic pain.
By investigating the biology and mechanics of pain, we can help to prevent addiction before it occurs. At Christian Rehab Network, it’s encouraging that more scientists are recognizing the need to develop safer and less addictive treatment therapies for pain. Let’s keep this positive momentum going.
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