New York (IANS): US researchers have discovered a new compound that offers longer-lasting painkilling effects, and shows promise as an alternative to current anaesthetics.
The new compound, boronicaine, could be beneficial especially in treating sports injuries or in joint replacement procedures, the findings showed.
“Because of its versatility and effectiveness at quickly numbing pain in targeted areas, lidocaine has been the gold standard in local anaesthetics for more than 50 years,” said lead author of the study George Kracke, associate professor at University of Missouri.
“While lidocaine is effective as a short-term painkiller, its effects wear off quickly. We developed a new compound that can quickly provide longer lasting relief,” Kracke said.
By changing aspects of the chemical structure of lidocaine, the researchers found that the new compound provided pain relief that lasted five times longer than lidocaine.
In pre-clinical, early stage studies, boronicaine provided about 25 minutes of relief, compared to about five minutes of pain relief with lidocaine.
Lidocaine is used as an injectable pain reliever in minor surgical or dental procedures, or as a topical ointment or spray to relieve itching, burning and pain from shingles, sunburns, jellyfish stings and insect bites.
The new compound could potentially serve many of those same functions as an injectable or topical painkiller.
“Although some conditions may warrant the use of a short-lasting painkiller, in many cases a longer lasting anaesthetic is a better option,” Kracke said.
“Having a longer lasting anaesthetic reduces the dosage or number of doses needed, limiting the potential for adverse side effects,” Kracke added.
The findings were detailed in the journal ChemMedChem.