A BEMA of Light to Effectively Treat Chronic Pain

Chronic pain concept.

(DGIwire) — Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than six months, such as migraines or back or joint pain. For those with chronic pain, life can seem like a never-ending cycle of drug treatments to find relief. Chronic pain might originate from a particular event, such as a car accident or sports-related injury, or it can develop over time, as with arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. It might affect one particular area of the body or be more generalized. No matter what the type of pain, sufferers deserve treatments that are quick, effective and safe.

Some of the most efficient treatments include opioid analgesics, since opioids bind directly to opioid receptors in the brain, delivering quick and efficient pain relief. However, the side effects of these drugs can include nausea, cognitive impairment, loss of energy and constipation. Since chronic pain necessitates the use of long-term treatment, such adverse events can impact one’s overall quality of life, negating the drugs’ benefits. Additionally, long-term use of opiates can lead to concerns about drug abuse, dependency and addiction.

An important player in the search for a safe, effective solution is BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc. (BDSI), a specialty pharmaceutical company with a focus on chronic pain management and addiction medicine. It has taken up the cause of finding treatments to manage chronic pain that might limit some of the complications seen with other opioid analgesics. One of its investigational drugs, called BEMA® Buprenorphine, is in clinical studies for the treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic pain. In January 2014, BDSI and its partner Endo Pharmaceuticals announced positive top-line results from a pivotal Phase 3 study of BEMA Buprenorphine in opioid-naïve subjects. Results of a second Phase 3 study, conducted in opioid-experienced patients, are anticipated in July of this year.

The active agent is buprenorphine, which is a partial mu-opioid receptor agonist and kappa antagonist, making it unique compared to full mu-opioid agonists such as morphine. It is a potent and long-lasting analgesic, and is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, meaning it has a lower abuse potential than Schedule II drugs.

The BEMA drug is in the form of a small, dissolvable polymer film for application to the inner cheek. These films were designed to rapidly deliver a dose of the drug across the mucous membrane for time-sensitive conditions, or to facilitate administration of drugs with poor oral absorption. The film completely dissolves in a short period of time inside the mouth.

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