Synthetic Sea Snail Venom Eases Pain in AIDS, Cancer Patients, Study Says
January 8, 2004
Ziconotide, a synthetic form of sea snail venom manufactured by Elan Pharmaceuticals, can ease pain in patients with AIDS or cancer for whom other painkillers, such as morphine, have not been beneficial, according to a study published in the Jan. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the AP/Florida Times-Union reports (Tanner, AP/Florida Times-Union, 1/6). Dr. Peter Staats of the Division of Pain Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and colleagues gave either ziconotide or a placebo to 111 patients ages 24 to 85 who had cancer or AIDS and a mean Visual Analog Scale of Pain Intensity (VASPI) score of 50 mm or greater (Staats et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, 1/7). The medication was administered for 10 days through a small, battery-operated pump implanted in the patients' abdomens that delivered continuous doses of the medication into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.