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Papers: 11 May 2024 - 17 May 2024

2024 Apr 29

J Clin Med




Nanotechnology for Pain Management.


Chelly JE, Goel SK, Kearns J, Kopac O, Sadhasivam S


: In the context of the current opioid crisis, non-pharmacologic approaches to pain management have been considered important alternatives to the use of opioids or analgesics. Advancements in nano and quantum technology have led to the development of several nanotransporters, including nanoparticles, micelles, quantum dots, liposomes, nanofibers, and nano-scaffolds. These modes of nanotransporters have led to the development of new drug formulations. In pain medicine, new liposome formulations led to the development of DepoFoam™ introduced by Pacira Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Parsippany, NJ, USA). This formulation is the base of DepoDur™, which comprises a combination of liposomes and extended-release morphine, and Exparel™, which comprises a combination of liposomes and extended-release bupivacaine. In 2021, Heron Therapeutics (San Diego, CA, USA) created Zynrelef™, a mixture of bupivacaine and meloxicam. Advancements in nanotechnology have led to the development of devices/patches containing millions of nanocapacitors. Data suggest that these nanotechnology-based devices/patches reduce acute and chronic pain. : Google and PubMed searches were conducted to identify studies, case reports, and reviews of medical nanotechnology applications with a special focus on acute and chronic pain. This search was based on the use of keywords like nanotechnology, nano and quantum technology, nanoparticles, micelles, quantum dots, liposomes, nanofibers, nano-scaffolds, acute and chronic pain, and analgesics. This review focuses on the role of nanotechnology in acute and chronic pain. : (1) Nanotechnology-based transporters. DepoDur™, administered epidurally in 15, 20, or 25 mg single doses, has been demonstrated to produce significant analgesia lasting up to 48 h. Exparel™ is infiltrated at the surgical site at the recommended dose of 106 mg for bunionectomy, 266 mg for hemorrhoidectomy, 133 mg for shoulder surgery, and 266 mg for total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Exparel™ is also approved for peripheral nerve blocks, including interscalene, sciatic at the popliteal fossa, and adductor canal blocks. The injection of Exparel™ is usually preceded by an injection of plain bupivacaine to initiate analgesia before bupivacaine is released in enough quantity from the depofoarm to be pharmacodynamically effective. Finally, Zynrelef™ is applied at the surgical site during closure. It was initially approved for open inguinal hernia, abdominal surgery requiring a small-to-medium incision, foot surgery, and TKA. (2) Nanotechnology-based devices/patches. Two studies support the use of nanocapacitor-based devices/patches for the management of acute and chronic pain. A randomized study conducted on patients undergoing unilateral primary total knee (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) provided insight into the potential value of nanocapacitor-based technology for the control of postoperative acute pain. The results were based on 2 studies, one observational and one randomized. The observational study was conducted in 128 patients experiencing chronic pain for at least one year. This study suggested that compared to baseline, the application of a nanocapacitor-based Kailo™ pain relief patch on the pain site for 30 days led to a time-dependent decrease in pain and analgesic use and an increase in well-being. The randomized study compared the effects of standard of care treatment to those of the same standard of care approach plus the use of two nanocapacitor-based device/patches (NeuroCuple™ device) placed in the recovery room and kept in place for three days. The study demonstrated that the use of the two NeuroCuple™ devices was associated with a 41% reduction in pain at rest and a 52% decrease in the number of opioid refills requested by patients over the first 30 days after discharge from the hospital. : For the management of pain, the use of nano-based technology has led to the development of nano transporters, especially focus on the use of liposome and nanocapacitors. The use of liposome led to the development of DepoDur™, bupivacaine Exparel™ and a mixture of bupivacaine and meloxicam (Zynrelef™) and more recently lidocaine liposome formulation. In these cases, the technology is used to prolong the duration of action of drugs included in the preparation. Another indication of nanotechnology is the development of nanocapacitor device or patches. Although, data obtained with the use of nanocapacitors are still limited, evidence suggests that the use of nanocapacitors devices/patches may be interesting for the treatment of both acute and chronic pain, since the studies conducted with the NeuroCuple™ device and the based Kailo™ pain relief patch were not placebo-controlled, it is clear that additional placebo studies are required to confirm these preliminary results. Therefore, the development of a placebo devices/patches is necessary. : Increasing evidence supports the concept that nanotechnology may represent a valuable tool as a drug transporter including liposomes and as a nanocapacitor-based device/patch to reduce or even eliminate the use of opioids in surgical patients. However, more studies are required to confirm this concept, especially with the use of nanotechnology incorporated in devices/patches.