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Molecular Targets for Pain Management

More Than Just Mu

Wanderer, Jonathan P., MD, MPhil; Nathan, Naveen, MD

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000002512
Infographics: Infographic

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (

The Infographic is composed by Jonathan P. Wanderer, MD, MPhil, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (, and Naveen Nathan, MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine ( Illustration by Naveen Nathan, MD.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.



The limitations of mu-opioid–based monotherapy have become readily apparent, and the search is more urgent than ever to develop effective alternatives and adjuvants for pain management. Ideally, these therapeutic agents would be highly efficacious, limited in side effects, and have little abuse potential. Achieving this goal may be possible through the utilization of alternative receptor sites involved in pain perception and modulation. In this infographic, we review receptors that have been identified as potentially useful in pain management and highlight existing and forthcoming medications that act on those receptor types.

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1. Knezevic NN, Yekkirala A, Yaksh TL. Basic/translational development of forthcoming opioid- and nonopioid-targeted pain therapeutics. Anesth Analg. 2017;125:1714–1732.
© 2017 International Anesthesia Research Society