New gel shows promise for dental needle phobia

A NEW gel derived from a traditional plant remedy found in the Peruvian rainforest is showing promise in trials as a potent topical anaesthetic to prevent injection pain.

A Cambridge University anthropologist, Dr Françoise Barbira Freedman, was given the toothache remedy – made from varieties of the plant Acmella Oleracea – while living among the Keshwa Lamas people. A gel produced from the active ingredients has proved very successful during the first two phases of clinical trials. It works by blocking sodium channel pathways in nerve endings.

Dr Freedman said: "This treatment for toothache means we could be looking at the end of some injections in the dentist's surgery. We've had really clear results from the tests so far, particularly for periodontological procedures such as root scaling and planing, and there are many other potential applications. The native forest people described to me exactly how the medicine could and should work and they were absolutely right."

Assuming success in clinical trials Ampika plans to launch the gel in 2014/15 with a profit-sharing arrangement that benefits the Keshwa Lamas community.

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