The Problem With Current Pain Treatments
Pain is a common condition that affects essentially everyone at some point in their lives. Chronic pain afflicts 50 – 100 million individuals in the United States each year, and is the second most common reason for seeking medical care, behind only the common cold. Pharmaceutical treatments available today, ranging from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to morphine-like opioid analgesics do not completely block pain and are effective in only a subset of patients. For example, neither NSAIDs nor opiates are effective in the treatment of nerve injury (neuropathic) associated pain, such as diabetic neuropathy. Meanwhile, massive over-prescribing of opioid drugs has led to an epidemic of abuse and addiction without a quantifiable improvement in the condition of chronic pain patients.
In addition to their lack of effectiveness in many pain states, NSAIDs and opiates, as well as acetaminophen are associated with a range of side effects. Opiates frequently lead to nausea, drowsiness, respiratory depression and also have a powerful potential for addiction. Drug overdoses (mainly opioids) are the number one cause of accidental deaths in the US, outpacing auto accidents. NSAIDs can also lead to gastric bleeding, killing an estimated 16,500 patients/year. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the US, causing an estimated 78,000 emergency room visits per year. Thus, there is an acute need for new approaches to the treatment of pain.
A New Class of Pain Treatment
Although the past several decades have yielded an unprecedented new understanding of chronic pain, these findings have yet to translate into new pain medications. Based on human genetic information, SiteOne is developing a completely new class of non-opioid, non-NSAID pain treatment which selectively targets and interrupts pain signals before they engage the central nervous system. The molecules under development by SiteOne should not only be effective for treating both acute and chronic pain, but should also be devoid of the non-selective side effects associated with other analgesics.