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New “Trick” Steroids Discovered

Most problems that affect chronic pain sufferers also involve inflammation.  Cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus  are a few examples of these conditions.  While inflammation is a body's response to harmful stimuli, an overactive response leads to progression of disease. When inflammation runs amok, it is paramount to use methods to control it, as too much inflammation does more harm than good.


Prednisone: a glucocorticoid drug


The mainstay of treatment of inflammation is a class of drugs known as glucocorticoids.  While they are a very effective form of treatment, long term use leads to serious complications, such as immune suppression, weight gain, fluid retention, and mental health issues.  The glucocorticoids are still widely used ,but are most appropriate for short term therapy.

The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen were also once more widely used for treatment of chronic pain and inflammation.  While still appropriate under the right circumstances, long term use is generally not warranted due to heart and kidney problems and risk of bleeding episodes.

Researchers at the Georgia State University are looking at a new novel way to biochemically "trick" the inflammatory response to stay in check for long periods without the risks of glucocorticoid or NSAID drugs.  Their studies focus on up regulation of IRAK-M, a key negative regulator of the inflammatory pathways.  Their findings may lead to development of new pharmaceutical products which can be used by those who suffer from chronic painful inflammatory conditions with less risk than other therapies currently available.

Sources: Newswise; Wikimedia

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