on air now

Supercharged pain relief: Melbourne researchers find way to make painkillers five times more effective

Melbourne researchers have developed a method which may make existing painkillers three to five times more effective.

The researchers have used nanotechnology to develop a new delivery method which deposits drugs at the source of pain, rather than distributing them throughout the body.

The method involves packing a tiny capsule with medication, which can interrupt pain signals from within the cell.

Dr Nicholas Veldhuis from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences said the method’s targeted approach could be a game changer.

“It actually creates like a cell infusion so that the drug gets inside nerves, so that it has maximum impact,” he told 3AW’s Ross and John.

The world-first research could hold the key to reducing the negative effects of drugs, and even address the growing opioid addiction epidemic.

“It can minimise a lot of the side effects,” Dr Veldhuis said.

“In the case of paracetamol, one of the biggest problems is that you can get liver toxicity.

“If you actually take enough paracetamol it can be pretty harmful to you. A lot of drugs are the same. It might not be liver toxicity, it could be that the drugs are acting in other tissues in your body.

“With opioids, it can cause addiction, so it’s affecting your brain.

“What we’re saying is that there could be other ways to deliver drugs to our body, and by doing that we can actually avoid some of these effects but still maintain the effect that we want.”

Press PLAY below for more.

Image: Vera Kevresan / EyeEm