Common pain relief drugs could be used to treat sepsis, study finds

A new study, published in Cell Chemical Biology, found non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to be a potentially effective treatment for sepsis.

The researchers screened 1,280 existing FDA-approved drugs for the ability to inhibit caspase, a family of enzymes that play a key role in aggressive immune responses, like sepsis. Of the 27 drugs that displayed this ability, half were NSAIDs. Additionally, NSAIDs comprised eight of the top 10 most potent caspase inhibitors.

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The researchers conducted experiments with roundworms as well, to test the theory further. They found that NSAIDs could delay cell death in worms, likely due to its capase-inhibiting ability.

However, the question of whether existing NSAIDs in higher doses could be used to treat sepsis remains to be determined. The side effects associated with NSAIDs, including increasing heart attack and stroke risk, may be too great. The researchers are working on follow-up studies to determine new sepsis drugs that may involve NSAIDs.

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