Venom-based drugs could replace opioids for treating pain

It’s possible that a new generation of drugs based on animal venom may soon replace opioids, providing powerful pain relief without addictive properties.

Ziconotide is one example. The drug is made from the venom of the cone snail. The problem is that the medication isn’t easy to administer; it must be injected directly into spinal fluid.

But other, possibly easier-to-use drugs are in the pipeline. Biotech company Kineta in Seattle is working on a drug made from sun anemone venom. Scientists in France are experimenting with the venom of the black mamba snake, and Australian researchers are working with venom from tarantulas and other spiders.

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