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Lancet. 2010 May 1;375(9725):1569-77. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60354-6. Epub 2010 Apr 21.

Ziconotide for treatment of severe chronic pain.

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  • 1Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Pharmacological management of severe chronic pain is difficult to achieve with currently available analgesic drugs, and remains a large unmet therapeutic need. The synthetic peptide ziconotide has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency for intrathecal treatment of patients with severe chronic pain that is refractory to other treatment modalities. Ziconotide is the first member in the new drug class of selective N-type voltage-sensitive calcium-channel blockers. The ziconotide-induced blockade of N-type calcium channels in the spinal cord inhibits release of pain-relevant neurotransmitters from central terminals of primary afferent neurons. By this mechanism, ziconotide can effectively reduce pain. However, ziconotide has a narrow therapeutic window because of substantial CNS side-effects, and thus treatment with ziconotide is appropriate for only a small subset of patients with severe chronic pain. We provide an overview of the benefits and limitations of intrathecal ziconotide treatment and review potential future developments in this new drug class.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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