OTCs in Action Episode 50: The future of pain relief


This week, OTCs are in Action in the UK, where the Nicholas Hall reports team has just unveiled its latest Global OTC Analgesics compendium, filled with a vast amount of analysis on pain care trends around the world.

Muscle pain, dental pain, period pain, etc are experienced by all consumers, whether they buy OTCs in Walmart in the US, “farmacias” in Mexico, or family-owned warungs in Indonesia. New product launches, A+P campaigns and expanded retail availability has shifted share among marketers – while rarely offering people more efficacious and safer OTC pain products.

So a few studies discussed at the end of Global OTC Analgesics jumped out – especially given their “natural” heritage:

    • Melatonin acts on the brain by activating two receptors – MT1 and MT2 – that are responsible for regulating several functions including sleep, depression and circadian rhythms. A research team demonstrated that UCM924, an MT2 receptor drug, relieves chronic pain in rats; UCM924 is able to switch off the neurons that trigger pain and switch on the ones that turn off pain
    • A multi-institutional research team identified the molecular interactions that allow capsaicin to activate the body’s primary receptor for sensing heat and pain, paving the way for the design of more selective and effective analgesics

A final study seems to have validated common knowledge – males and females may process pain differently. When researchers looked at the longstanding theory that pain is transmitted from the site of injury or inflammation through the nervous system using microglia – an immune system cell – they found this is only true in male mice.

What an opportunity for gender-specific OTCs in the future!

Click here to learn more about the Global OTC Analgesics Report