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Ziconotide: a review of its pharmacology and use in the treatment of pain

Authors Joseph G McGivern

Published 15 March 2007 Volume 2007:3(1) Pages 69—85


Joseph G McGivern

HTS-Molecular Pharmacology, Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

Abstract: Ziconotide is a powerful analgesic drug that has a unique mechanism of action involving potent and selective block of N-type calcium channels, which control neurotransmission at many synapses. The analgesic efficacy of ziconotide likely results from its ability to interrupt pain signaling at the level of the spinal cord. Ziconotide is a peptidic drug and has been approved for the treatment of severe chronic pain in patients only when administered by the intrathecal route. Importantly, prolonged administration of ziconotide does not lead to the development of addiction or tolerance. The current review discusses the various studies that have addressed the in vitro biochemical and electrophysiological actions of ziconotide as well as the numerous pre-clinical studies that were conducted to elucidate its antinociceptive mechanism of action in animals. In addition, this review considers the pivotal Phase 3 (and other) clinical trials that were conducted in support of ziconotide’s approval for the treatment of severe chronic pain and tries to offer some insights regarding the future discovery and development of newer analgesic drugs that would act by a similar mechanism to ziconotide but which might offer improved safety, tolerability and ease of use.

Keywords: ziconotide; Prialt; analgesic drug; N-type calcium channel blocker; severe chronic pain

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