This site is intended for health professionals only

Pain relief pill made from snail saliva


A team of scientists has developed a new form of painkiller based on the saliva of sea snails, according to Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN).

The trade magazine reported that scientists had come up with a pill which could be used to relieve severe pain as effectively as morphine, without the risk of addiction.

Sea snails’ saliva contains a chemical designed to help the slow moving creature catch its prey.

The saliva includes a chemical that is injected with hypidermic-needle-like teeth into passing prey.

According to C&EN senior editor Bethany Halford, a team of researchers in Australia developed the new form of painkiller that can be given by mouth.

Previously, the painkiller, made up from the chemical in the saliva, could only be injected in the spine, limiting its use.

The report said medical experts believe the pill may revolutionise the treatment of severe pain such as peripheral neuropathy.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Be in the know
Subscribe to Hospital Pharmacy Europe newsletter and magazine