New Drug Boosts Naloxone’s Power Against Opioids

New Drug Boosts Naloxone’s Power Against Opioids
New Drug Boosts Naloxone’s Power Against Opioids. Credit | REUTERS

United States: A new experimental medicine called Compound 368 which might make the overdose drug naloxone( Narcan) nearly about 7.6 times further effective against the strong opioids like fentanyl. This means that emulsion 368 could help naloxone work more in extremities when someone has an opioid overdose.

Study Shows How Compound 368 Can Improve Naloxone

A study was published on July 3 in the journal Nature shows that while naloxone is a lifesaver, it has some limits, and compound 368 could improve its effectiveness. According to Susruta Majumdar, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, this new drug could help naloxone save more lives.

“Many people who overdose on opioids need more than one dose of naloxone before they are out of danger,” Majumdar explained in a university news release. “This study is a proof of concept that we can make naloxone work better — last longer and be more potent — by giving it in combination with a molecule that influences the responses of the opioid receptor.”

There are some opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl work by activating the receptors in the brain and these particular receptors reduce the perception of the pain and induce the euphoria but they also slow down the breathing and the side effect that makes overdose deadly.

How Compound 368 Works with Naloxone

As reported in U.S. News, Naloxone works by blocking the ability of opioids to activate those receptors, researchers said. Unfortunately, the naloxone wears off after about two hours while the fentanyl can remain in the bloodstream for eight hours and the researchers set out to find a compound that could strengthen naloxone by helping it remain it remain active in the body for longer.

The team screened a library of almost 4.5 million molecules and searching for the molecules that could also bind to opioid receptors alongside naloxone and thus boosting its effectiveness.

Why Compound 368 Is Important

In the lab tests the researchers found their most promising candidate and compound 368 helped the naloxone which remain active in the body for at least 10 times longer.

“The compound itself doesn’t bind well without naloxone,” said lead researcher Evan O’Brien a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University. “We think naloxone has to bind first, and then compound 368 is able to come in and cap it in place.”

Future of Compound 368

Compound 368 also did not worsen the withdrawal symptoms that can occur in the people revived with naloxone, which can include pain , chills and vomiting and also some kind of irritability.

“Opioid withdrawal likely won’t kill you, but they’re so severe that users often resume taking opioids within a day or two to stop the symptoms. The idea that we can rescue patients from overdose with reduced withdrawal might just help a lot of people,” said co-senior researcher Jay McLaughlin a professor of pharmacodynamics at the University of Florida.