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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 May 2024 - 24 May 2024

2024 May 30





A comprehensive review on ziconotide.


Lin J, Chen S, Butt UD, Yan M, Wu B


Managing severe chronic pain is a challenging task, given the limited effectiveness of available pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments. This issue continues to be a significant public health concern, requiring a substantial therapeutic response. Ziconotide, a synthetic peptide initially isolated from in 1982 and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency in 2004, is the first-line intrathecal method for individuals experiencing severe chronic pain refractory to other therapeutic measures. Ziconotide produces powerful analgesia by blocking N-type calcium channels in the spinal cord, which inhibits the release of pain-relevant neurotransmitters from the central terminals of primary afferent neurons. However, despite possessing many favorable qualities, including the absence of tolerance development, respiratory depression, and withdrawal symptoms (largely due to the absence of a G-protein mediation mechanism), ziconotide’s application is limited due to factors such as intrathecal administration and a narrow therapeutic window resulting from significant dose-related undesired effects of the central nervous system. This review aims to provide a comprehensive and clinically relevant summary of the literatures concerning the pharmacokinetics and metabolism of intrathecal ziconotide. It will also describe strategies intended to enhance clinical efficacy while reducing the incidence of side effects. Additionally, the review will explore the current efforts to refine the structure of ziconotide for better clinical outcomes. Lastly, it will prospect potential developments in the new class of selective N-type voltage-sensitive calcium-channel blockers.