In Pain Management, Multiple Paths May Be Better Than One

By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – Variety is the spice of life. But can it also be the key to better pain management? It very well might, according to a recent article in Anesthesiology News. A massive database analysis of more than 1.5 million hip and knee replacement patients found that those receiving more than one type of traditional pain medication as part of their treatment regimen experienced fewer respiratory complications, fewer gastrointestinal complications, a decrease in opioid prescriptions and a decrease in length of hospital stays, compared to patients who received opioids only.

Focusing on the years 2006 to 2016, the researchers identified a total of 512,393 hip arthroplasties and 1,028,069 knee arthroplasties. Reporting in a recent issue of Anesthesiology, they found that 85.6 percent of these patients received more than one form of pain medication.

Specifically, hip arthroplasty patients receiving more than two forms of pain relief experienced 19 percent fewer respiratory complications, 26 percent fewer gastrointestinal complications, an 18.5 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions and a 12.1 decrease in length of stay in the hospital when compared to those patients who were solely prescribed opioids. Similar patterns were revealed in patients who underwent total knee surgery.

“Although opioids will undoubtedly continue to play a legitimate role in pain management, there is increasing evidence that post-operative patients are well-served when there are multiple options available for treatment,” says Anthony P. Mack, CEO of Virpax Pharmaceuticals. “There are exciting solutions currently in development that widen the range of such solutions.”

One such solution is being studied by Virpax™ itself. The company’s first investigational product, LBL100, is a potentially long-acting local anesthetic for post-operative pain that has the potential to reduce moderate-to-severe post-operative pain for at least 96 hours in humans.

LBL100 is a drug product that may be able to deliver the local anesthetic bupivacaine in a unique way—by enclosing it inside structures known as liposomes, which are made out of lecithin and cholesterol. The liposomes themselves are embedded into tiny beads that form a substance called a lipogel. The system delivers medicine that is designed to provide pain relief relatively quickly and for a relatively long period of time. If approved one day, the formulation may have an impact on the reduction of opioids to improve quality of care and hospital economics.

“The more options that healthcare providers and their post-operative patients have at their disposal for pain management, they better off they may ultimately be,” Mack adds.

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