Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Puffer Fish Toxin Alleviates Refractory Cancer Pain in Trial

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Puffer Fish Toxin Alleviates Refractory Cancer Pain in Trial

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER, B. C. -- A novel pain drug from puffer fish poison showed an analgesic effect that lasted up to 2 weeks following intramuscular injection in patients with refractory cancer pain, Dr. Neil Hagen said at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society.

The drug, tetrodotoxin, which blocks voltage-gated sodium channels in the nervous system, probably will be efficacious for postoperative pain as well because all types of pain appeared to respond--neuropathic, somatic, and visceral, said Dr. Hagen of the division of palliative care at the University of Calgary (Alta.).

"Very striking responses were observed," Dr. Hagen said. "Some patients with allodynia--that is pain with light touch on the skin--had a great reduction in their allodynia."

"This was the first multicenter clinical trial regarding the effects of tetrodotoxin in patients with pain," he said.

"But a great deal is known about the clinical toxicology of puffer fish poison from accidental consumption by fishermen over the centuries, and from eating of fugu by Japanese businessmen."

The 22-patient trial was a dose-escalation trial that tested four different doses given over 4 consecutive days. …

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