A drug that enhances the effectiveness of prescription painkillers, while reducing their addictiveness and cutting chronic pain may be on the horizon, if a new line of animal research pans out.
A recent study, published in theJournal of Neuroscience, found that when rodents were given a drug called (+)-naloxone — which is a mirror-image molecule of the drug naloxone, an overdose antidote — along with opioid drugs like morphine they did not display the typical signs of addiction, such as self-administering the drug or developing a preference for the place that they received it. Such behaviors typically occur when rats and mice are exposed to the same kinds of drugs that people tend to enjoy that have a potential for addiction. When these behaviors don’t manifest, it suggests that the animals aren’t feeling pleasure from the drugs.
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