An Alternative To Opioids? - West Virginia Strong

An Alternative To Opioids?

West Virginia's drug problem has many causes, so there's no one size fits all solution to this issue. Rather than one single breakthrough, discovery, or policy, this must be a road paved with small victories, fixing one problem at a time.

One of those small victories may be close. WVNews reported earlier this week that WVU is in the process of testing a new pain management technology that could offer an alternative to opioids for patients with sciatica. Many victims of substance abuse disorder start out using opioids for medical conditions like sciatica and then get addicted, so giving these patients an alternative from the beginning could be a game changer.  

From WV News

With more than five million people in the U.S. affected by sciatica — one of the most common causes of back and leg pain — the Sollis micropellet can potentially provide patients with a pain-relief solution and an alternative to addictive opioid pain medications. Unfortunately, in many cases, currently available treatment options for the pain management of sciatica and other back pain have inadvertently led to opioid abuse.

“Having the opportunity to investigate new non-opioid treatments for sciatica and a range of pain conditions is directly aligned with the WVU Medicine Center for Integrative Pain Management’s mission to combat the opioid crisis in West Virginia and nationwide,” said Richard Vaglienti, M.D., principal investigator and director of the Center for Integrative Pain Management.

“Our doctors and researchers at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute continue to do amazing things that will help make all of our lives better,” President Gordon Gee said. “This kind of ground-breaking research would not be possible without the assistance of many people, including Gov. Jim Justice, Rep. David McKinley, and Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin, all of whom have been fully supportive of these initiatives.”

In West Virginia, where the number of opioid-related deaths is on course to set a record for overdose deaths this year, the micropellet procedure – if successful – could one day be a game-changer.

“Knowing that even a single day of opioid usage is associated with a probability that the patient will be taking opioids a year later underscores the need for innovations like ours to impact the opioid crisis,” Gregory Fiore, M.D., president and CEO of Sollis Therapeutics, said. “We are pleased to team up with the researchers at the WVU RNI and other sites nationwide.”

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