How Non-Opioid Drugs Work on Pain

Erol Onel pic

Erol Onel

As vice president at Heron Therapeutics in La Jolla, California, Dr. Erol Onel directs the company’s pain franchise. Currently in leadership of a team charged with approval of a new non-opioid drug, Dr. Erol Onel works on a national and global level.

For patients with pain, non-opioid analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs can help to interrupt the pain signal process. Unlike opioids, they usually do not work directly on the central nervous system, but rather act at the peripheral level.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) block the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes that are key players in the pain process. NSAIDs reduce the sensation of pain as well as inflammation.


The Wounded Warrior Project’s Economic Empowerment Program

Wounded Warrior Project pic

Wounded Warrior Project

Dr. Erol Onel serves as the vice president of Heron Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company based in La Jolla, California. Previously on the board of directors of the American Society of Andrology and currently a member of numerous medical societies, Dr. Erol Onel spends some of his time away from work supporting the Wounded Warrior Project.

A nonprofit foundation created to provide support and reintegration services for veterans who have incurred mental or physical injuries, the Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2003 by a wounded veteran and his family. The organization has since established a wide reach across the nation, creating numerous programs and services for veterans.

To assist veterans in their recovery and rehabilitation, the Wounded Warrior Project has developed programs for the economic empowerment of veterans. A program called Warriors to Work entails career counseling and a support system to make the transition into the civilian workforce easier. Counselors provide everything from job leads to mock interviews, networking opportunities, and more.

Pain Medication – Opioids and NSAIDs

Opioids pic


A urologist active in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Erol Onel serves as vice president of Heron Therapeutics in La Jolla, California. In his leadership capacity, Dr. Erol Onel contributes to the drug-approval process for non-opioid pain relievers.

Opioids are a class of prescription drugs known for their potency in relieving pain. Though highly effective, opioids can cause dangerous side effects, and can even result in dependency in some people. Opioids effect the nervous system by interrupting the brain signals responsible for creating painful sensations. On the market, pharmaceutical companies package opioids under a variety of brand names, including Percocet, Fentora, and Oxycontin.

Non-opioid pain relief medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also address pain. NSAIDs work by blocking certain enzymes that encourage swelling and associated pain. They’re offered over the counter under names like Advil and Aleve.