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Feb 24, 2017 11:10 PM EST

Opioid Substitute Is Snail Venom For Pain Relief

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Opioids are considered to be a prescription drug that is quite effective for pain relief. However, recent reports have shown that there is an epidemic in the country as the rate of opioid drug addiction rises. The medical community and the FDA are looking into finding a solution.

According to reports, the root of the opioid addiction problem stems from a number of doctors prescribing opioids on the get-go, compared to other doctors who would recommend therapeutic forms of pain relief first, such as massages and heat therapy.

But that still does not answer the concerns of certain patients. How can they attain pain relief if opioids are now slowly being controlled? The answer may lie in a sea snail's venom.

A recent study shows that extracts from a sea snail venom compound can relieve pain for up to 72 hours after injection. The study was performed on rats, as reported by The Fix. The study is essential because the pain receptors being touched by the snail venom compound are different from the opioid receptors being activated.

This means that sea snail venom can open the possibility of providing pain relief to millions of people without igniting the risk of addiction like opioid did. The sea snail responsible for this study is called the Conus regius. It is found in the Caribbean Sea. The mollusk has natural pain relief molecules, says Baldomera Olivera, Ph.D. Olivera is a professor in biology at the University of Utah.

Olivera and other medical experts hope that this solves the opioid addiction problem. Because now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that opioids are not only addictive but have caused the deaths of 91 Americans due to overdose, as reported by The Latin Post.

Further study is still needed to counter and zero out opioid addiction. But one thing is for certain, a tiny sea snail may hold the answer.

Learn more about the cone snail in the National Geographic clip below:

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