Researchers have found that ibuprofen arginate, the drug's new formulation, is not only safer to take at higher doses but also provides faster pain relief than the drug's current version.

In a study published in The FASEB Journal, researchers detailed how they observed that ibuprofen arginate provides an arginine supplement and a COX-2 inhibitor in just one preparation. According to Jane A. Mitchell, one of the study's authors, the results of their work are simple but they have the potential to innovate the field of pain medication.

The study was carried out in a series of experiments featuring different approaches, utilizing whole laboratory animals to single-cell types. In the first approach, the researchers used mouse cells in dishes. When they removed normal arginine from the growth solution, they saw that ibuprofen arginine's arginine content worked exactly just like how standard arginine would work in cells.

For the second experiment, the researchers moved on to using blood vessels from rats and mice. When they added an artificial compound that interfered with standard arginine's protective effects, they saw that introducing ibuprofen arginine reversed the compound's effects, restoring function within the blood vessels to normal.

For the third experiment, the researchers worked with live rats. They also blocked standard arginine's protective effects in this approach, resulting in a spike in blood pressure. The researchers then measured the resulting blood pressure levels.

When results from the experiments were gathered, the researchers concluded that ibuprofen arginine worked just like standard arginine in restoring blood pressure to ideal levels. This means that the new formulation could work to negate the adverse cardiovascular effects that have been associated with high doses of anti-inflammatory painkillers.

According to The FASEB Journal Editor-in-Chief Thoru Pederson, the results of the study are clear and present a great idea.

"[T]his formulation may circumvent moving certain patients onto opioid painkillers, fraught with their own dangers," he said.

In an effort to address the growing problem with opioid medication, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has announced that it will be reducing the amount of opioids manufactured in the country in 2017.

According to the final order the agency submitted to the Federal Register, production of Schedule II opioid and opiate medication will be cut by at least 25 percent in the coming year. Affected drugs include oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl and hydrocodone. In the case of hydrocodone, the DEA is seeking to reduce production of the drug by 34 percent.

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