What Are Non-Opioid Drugs?

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.