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There's a promising opioid alternative in the works

A man uses heroin.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A team of scientists may have developed a new opioid alternative that kills pain while muting the addictive components, according to a new study of animal models in Science Translational Medicine published yesterday.

Why it matters: From 1999 to 2016, more than 200,000 Americans died from overdoses related to prescription opioids, my colleague Eileen Drage O'Reilly reports. Yet, these drugs remain the most effective options for treating many cases of acute or chronic pain.

  • Several of the authors who are claiming success are employees of Astraea Therapeutics, which is developing the potential drug.
  • Read the whole thing to understand how the science of the new compound works.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that it's replacing 2014 guidance on developing new pain drugs with a more efficient, focused approach.

  • Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told the Washington Postthat the 2014 guidance is overly broad and that the new agency guidance should lead to smaller clinical trials, faster approvals and quicker launches of new therapies.
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