What is Ziconotide?

Pamela Pleasant
Pamela Pleasant

Ziconotide is a pain-reducing analgesic medication. It is not commonly used, but it is given to patients who do not respond well to other analgesics or pain relievers. The medication loses its effectiveness it if is administered intravenously or in pill form. For this reason, it must be administered using an intrathecal injection. In this procedure, Ziconotide is injected and mixed with spinal fluid.

This medication is not thought to be addictive because it is not a narcotic. It is a calcium channel blocker, which means that it blocks the release of the nociceptive neurochemicals. These substances are responsible for producing the feeling of pain within the body. When these chemicals are blocked, the signals coming from the nerve will also be blocked. Without nerve transmission or signals, the body will not feel pain.

Ziconotide is typically given to patients who suffer from potentially painful illnesses. These diseases include multiple sclerosis, HIV-AIDS, and certain types of cancer. In order to avoid discomfort, different types of prescription pain medications must be used for these patients. This can increase the chances of drug dependence, as well as side effects and negative drug interactions, for the patient. Ziconotide can be used for a long period of time without the risk of dependence.

When ziconotide is used for more than a few weeks, an implanted drug delivery pump is typically used to administer the drug. Although it can help to reduce discomfort considerably, the painful injections into the spinal fluid are thought to be one of the most commonly cited problems.

There are also many other side effects associated with ziconotide. Dizziness, vertigo and loss of appetite can occur while using this drug. Persistent pain, swelling, and redness are also commonly present around the injection area. Certain reactions and changes in the skin such as rashes can be an indication of an allergic reaction. Ziconotide is not recommended for people suffering with any mental illness because it can increase hallucinations and anxiety, along with paranoia, depression, and severe mood swings.

The recommended dosage should always be followed when using this drug. Any side effect or uncomfortable symptom can be experienced if there is an accidental overdose. Negative drug interactions can happen if this drug is used with sedatives, sleeping pills, or allergy medications. Nursing mothers should not use ziconotide because it can contaminate the breast milk.

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