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Childers WE , Abou-Gharbia MA
"I'll Be Back": The Resurrection of Dezocine
ACS Med Chem Lett. 2021 Jun 10;12(6) :961-968
PMID: 34141081    PMCID: PMC8201756    URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/34141081
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Beginning with opium itself, natural and synthetic opioids have been used as analgesics for over 8000 years and were likely abused as drugs of recreation for that long as well. However, the "opioid crisis" resulted in attempts to avoid or limit opioid analgesics in favor of other therapies and methods. Mu opioid agonists can be effective analgesics but suffer from addiction, tolerance, and dangerous, sometimes fatal, side effects. One exception to this generalization is dezocine (Dalgan), a mixed mu/kappa opioid partial agonist. Dezocine is at least as effective as morphine in reducing acute pain in animal models and clinical applications such as postoperative pain. And while dezocine was discontinued in western markets in 2011, it has become the favored opioid analgesic in China, capturing over 40% of the market. Additionally, dezocine possesses norepinephrine uptake inhibitory activity, which may synergize with mu agonism in the case of acute pain treatment and possibly endow the drug with antinociceptive activity in neuropathic pain conditions. This Innovations article summarizes the history and properties of dezocine and presents evidence and rationale for why dezocine has undergone a resurrection.
1948-5875 Childers, Wayne E Abou-Gharbia, Magid A Orcid: 0000-0001-7524-6011 Journal Article ACS Med Chem Lett. 2021 May 19;12(6):961-968. doi: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.1c00233. eCollection 2021 Jun 10.