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Although seldom fatal, quitting Fentanyl "cold turkey" can be a painful experience. Those who are addicted to Fentanyl will likely face painful withdrawals if they stop using it or lessen their dosage. Inpatient and outpatient resources are available at specialized treatment institutions to help persons addicted to Fentanyl quit.
The severity of fentanyl withdrawal varies based on a variety of factors, including the amount of fentanyl used and the type of fentanyl used. Symptoms of withdrawal range from irritation and chills to sweating and restlessness.
Despite the fact that Fentanyl withdrawal is usually not fatal, users are nonetheless subject to relapse. Professional medical care during detox can make the process go more smoothly and reduce the chances of relapse.
Wake Forest School of Medicine scientists have been working with the National Institute on Drug Abuse to develop a safe, non-addictive painkiller to assist combat the country's current opioid crisis. And it's possible they did precisely that, although in an animal model. The novel chemical molecule, known as AT-121, has a dual therapeutic effect in non-human primates, suppressing the addictive effects of opioids while also producing morphine-like analgesic benefits.
"We discovered AT-121 to be a safe, non-addictive, and effective pain medicine in our study," said Mei-Chuan Ko, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's School of Medicine. "In addition, like buprenorphine, this molecule proved successful in blocking the misuse potential of prescription opioids, so we hope it might be utilized to treat pain and opioid abuse."
The findings were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine on August 29. The study's major goal was to create and test a chemical substance that worked on both the mu opioid receptor, which is found in the most effective prescription pain relievers, and the nociceptin receptor, which opposes or blocks the misuse and dependence-related adverse effects of mu-targeted opioids. Current opioid painkillers, such as fentanyl and oxycodone, target exclusively the mu opioid receptor, resulting in undesirable side effects such as respiratory depression, addiction potential, increased pain sensitivity, and physical dependence.
"We developed AT-121, which combines both functions in an acceptable balance in a single molecule, which we believe is a better pharmaceutical strategy than using two medications in combination," Ko explained. AT-121 provided the same level of pain alleviation as an opioid, but at a 100-fold lower dose than morphine, according to the researchers. It also reduced the addictive effects of oxycodone, a commonly abused prescription pain reliever, at that level. AT-121's bifunctional profile provided efficient pain relief without the potential for abuse, as well as a lack of additional opioid side effects that patients commonly experience, such as itch, respiratory depression, tolerance, and dependence.
"Our findings suggest that blocking the nociceptin opioid receptor reduced addictive and other negative effects while also providing effective pain alleviation," Ko explained. "The fact that this research was conducted in nonhuman primates, a closely related species to humans, was also crucial since it demonstrated that compounds like AT-121 had the potential to be a viable opioid alternative or substitute for prescription opioids in the future." The next stage, according to Ko, is to undertake more preclinical research to gather more safety data, and then apply to the Food and Drug Administration for approval to commence human clinical trials if all goes well. Nurulain T. Zaveri, Ph.D., a member of Astraea Therapeutics' research team, created AT-121.