Science Questions

Could chilli be an alternative to morphine?

Sun, 7th Oct 2007

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Question

Andy, Harlow asked:

I use morphine patches and if I forget to put one on I get the same withdrawal symptoms a heroin addict would! In the science news this week there was a story about using chilli combined with a pain killer to selectively kill pain. Could this be an alternative to morphine?

Answer

Well, the reason people have to use morphine is because its a very powerful painkiller and the downside of using morphine is that it does have these addicting qualities.  If we can come up with a better way to block pain without producing these addicting qualities that would be really good news.  The thing is that until now, no one has managed to do that, which is why I think this story is so powerful.  You can home in just on the pain and not have side effects like morphine does such as addiction.

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