A new, non-opioid pain medication from Vertex Pharmaceuticals demonstrated positive results in Phase 2 proof of concept trials, showing promise for other potential indications in pain management.
VX-548 was tested in trials for two types of post-surgical pain; abdominoplasty surgery (tummy tuck) and bunionectomy surgery (the removal of bunions). Patients in both trials received one of the following treatments after surgery: one of three different doses of VX-548, a placebo, or hydrocodone.
Patients periodically rated their pain over a 48-hour period, and in both trials the higher doses of VX-548 – 100 mg after surgery, followed by 50 mg every 12 hours after – resulted in a rapid, statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in pain, with no serious side effects, though larger trials are necessary to verify potential risks of taking VX-548.
The bunionectomy trial included 274 individuals, and patients in this trial who received the highest dose of VX-548 experienced significantly better pain reduction than placebo patients. The abdominoplasty trial included 303 patients, with the highest dose of VX-548 outperforming the placebo and hydrocodone. Lower doses of VX-548 did not show significant benefits in either study.VX-548 has the potential to be a first-in-class non-opioid treatment for acute pain.