Side Effect of New Painkillers DiscoveredResearchers have finally found a side effect of a new class of painkillers. A study recently showed that painkillers that block a receptor known as transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily V, member 1 (TRPV1) which could actually cause interference with brain functions like memory and learning.
TRPV1 is a pain receptor, which when activated causes pain in case of inflammation. Most pharmaceutical companies have been testing TRPV1 receptor blockers as a way to help patients deal with pain connected to inflammation and nerve damage. Until now, researchers knew that TRPV1 was associated with the nervous system but they did not know what its function was in the brain.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Providence and they were using laboratory rats to see whether the receptor played a role in long term depression, which is a condition wherein the signaling between the neurons is weakened. Long term depression is believed to be the core when it comes to forming memory pathways in the brain. The researchers found that they could block long term depression in the brain by using drugs that blocked TRPV1.
This study goes a long way in explaining the role of TRPV1 in the side effects of a drug named Acomplia, which is an anti-obesity drug. This drug has been approved in Europe but was not approved by the FDA because of the increased risk of depression and suicide in patients using it.
We still do not know the impact this study will have on drugs that target TRPV1 but studies like this are important for drug development.