A drug used nearly half a century ago to treat tuberculosis may help people who experience chronic pain. The drug, an antibiotic called D-Cycloserine, reduces chronic-pain-like symptoms in rats.
A. Vania Apkarian of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and his colleagues tested the drug on rats in which the researchers had cut tissue and a major nerve in one paw. The tissue healed, but nerve damage persisted, as is often the case in chronic pain.
The team then gave oral D-Cycloserine to some rats. In others, the researchers injected the drug into the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain region that the scientists speculate is involved, in people, in emotional responses to chronic pain.