Spider venom shows promise as alternative to opioid painkillers, study shows

morphine. In Seattle, plans have moved forward to begin testing venom from the sun anemone by biotech company Kineta Inc.

The chronic pain drug Ziconotide, marketed as Prialt, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 and is derived from the venom of the cone snail. Unfortunately, the drug isn’t easy to administer and must be injected directly into the spinal fluid.

Research in 2007 from the U.S. National Library of Medicine for the National Institutes of Health described Ziconotide as a “great achievement,” which still has a lot of room for improvement. One key improvement, according to the research, is ease of administration, which would reduce the risk of infection.

Successful human trials of venom therapies could bring an end to the U.S.’s opioid epidemic. A new generation of drugs could help the 100 million Americans suffering from chronic pain without the risks of an unwanted addiction.