About this Research Topic
The pharmacopoeia of analgesics is old and has not been improved on for several years. However, the epidemiology of pain is now well defined and several studies have concluded, for example, that the prevalence of chronic pain in the general adult population is around 30% depending on the country and even higher in elderly subjects. There is therefore a gap between the state of the pharmacopoeia with very limited conceptual innovations and a public health need exacerbated by the fact that there is no effective treatment for several pain syndromes. This worrying situation is aggravated by the increasingly questionable benefit/risk ratio of several classes of analgesics currently on the market.
For example, opioids are the most effective drugs for the treatment of severe pain, but they also cause several adverse side effects, among others addiction and overdose deaths, which have led to a worldwide opioid crisis.
The present Research Topic is intended to address all the relevant issues that may help to identify opioids adverse effects socio-economic consequences, mechanisms, preventive and/or treatment measures, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological alternatives that would engage a better benefit/risk ratio than the current opioid analgesic drugs.
Our goal is to set a forum for Original Research (preclinical, clinical, and translational) and Review Articles focused on opioid side effects and on novel strategies aiming at countering opioid side effects. Studies on the following topics are welcome:
- Opioid use disorders epidemiology, mechanisms and medication treatment
- Molecular, cellular and tissue mechanisms of opioid action, including opioid-induced epigenetic modifications and their consequential changes to gene expression
- New opioid-based strategies aimed at effective pain relief and improved side effect profiles, including biased agonism, targeting peripheral opioid receptors, heteromers or multiple receptors, splice variants, endogenous opioid peptides, anti-opioid systems
- New cell/tissue/animal models to study opioid action
- New biophysical approaches to give a deep molecular analysis of opioid receptors
- Non pharmacological strategies to limit opioid abuse and misuse
- Historical overview of any of the above
Keywords: Opioid Receptor Signalling, Opioid Side Effects, Biased Agonists, Endogenous Opioid Peptides, Peripheral Opioid Analgesia
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.