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Ups and Downs of Pain Therapy

Has a more thorough understanding of pain biology presaged an avalanche of new treatment modalities?

The Scientist Staff
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Courtesy of the John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection, History & Special Collections Division, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA

Has a more thorough understanding of pain biology presaged an avalanche of new treatment modalities? Not yet. The most highly prescribed treatments for pain trace their origins to progress made long before any conception of pain's primary pathways existed. Rational drug development will eventually be possible, but for now progress is a largely matter of hit or miss and of improving compounds that just appear to work. This is abetted by nature continuing to serve up surprises, in the form of drugs developed for other indications proving to be efficacious in the treatment of pain. This section tours the rocky road of pain relief.

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