Medications have long been used to treat pain but most of them are short-term fixes and can cause side effects. Researchers at the University of Missouri have discovered a new compound, boronicaine that could potentially have longer-lasting effects and could even act as an anesthetic alternative.
"Because of its versatility and effectiveness at quickly numbing pain in targeted areas, lidocaine has been the gold standard in local anesthetics for more than 50 years. While lidocaine is effective as a short-term painkiller, its effects wear off quickly. We developed a new compound that can quickly provide longer lasting relief," said lead author of the study George Kracke, associate professor at University of Missouri.
Researchers changed the chemical structure of lidocaine and found that the new compound provided pain relief that lasted five minutes longer than lidocaine.
In pre-clinical studies, boronicaine offered 25 minutes pain relief, compared to five minutes of pain relief with lidocaine.
Lidocaine is an injectable pain reliever used in minor surgical or dental procedures, or as a topical ointment or spray to relieve itching, burning and pain from shingles, sunburns, jellyfish stings and insect bites.
Boronicaine could also potentially serve many of those same functions as an injectable or topical painkiller.
"Although some conditions may warrant the use of a short-lasting painkiller, in many cases a longer lasting anesthetic is a better option. Having a longer lasting anesthetic reduces the dosage or number of doses needed, limiting the potential for adverse side effects," Kracke said.
The findings were detailed in the journal ChemMedChem.