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Arizona doctor seeing ‘remarkable’ results with non-addictive arthritis drug

PHOENIX — An Arizona doctor said he has seen overwhelming results from a non-opioid drug used to treat arthritis.

Dr. Joseph Gimbel of AZResearch, a clinical trial firm, said he has seen “remarkable” results from a drug called Tanezumab.

The drug has been used in arthritis treatment.

“The problem with the drug is it’s actually too good,” Gimbel said. “Pain is a protective mechanism.  And, when you take away the pain, people with advanced arthritis go out and do things they shouldn’t be doing.”

The doctor said one male patient hiked the Grand Canyon one month after he “could barely walk” into his office. He said the man put himself at greater risk to cause more damage to the affected area by overworking his joints.

“(He) couldn’t feel the pain because it took away the pain,” the doctor said. “What happened was it could do destruction to the joint even more because they can’t feel the pain.”

Tanezumab is not addictive like such medications as morphine, fentanyl and oxycodone. The drug is also free of side effects, Gimbel said.

Gimbel said people in pain often get depressed and sometimes mix anti-depressant medications with narcotics.

More than 50,000 people died from overdoses of opioids in 2017, almost more than those who died in the Vietnam War, according to the doctor.

“The combination of anti-depressant medications and narcotics is deadly,” Gimbel said. “And when you treat both and giving them both medications, they depress respiration and can lead to death.”

Gimbel has tested Tanezumab for about seven years and he said he expects the drug will soon be on the market once it gets fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“This is the best pain drug I’ve ever worked on.”

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