10 minute read
Feb. 22, 2024

Finally, An Alternative to Opioids? NaV1.8 Surprises as a New Frontier in Pain Management

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NaV1.8 has become an industry focal point in the pursuit of pain therapeutics thanks to the success of Vertex’s exquisitely selective inhibitor, VX-548, in Ph. III clinical trials for acute pain and Ph. II results in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Unlike opioid receptor modulation, NaV1.8 inhibition does not carry the same addiction risks in part due to its lack of expression in the brain. With VX-548 strongly positioned for approval and next-generation NaV1.8-targeting compounds emerging, tools to address the urgent and unmet medical need for non-opioid drugs for pain may soon be broadly available. Following our recent review of the leading NaV1.8 inhibitor VX-548, this article provides more details on the history of target validation for NaV1.8 in pain and why this could be the new frontier for pain management.

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