An investigational drug called LX9211 could be the first-in-class treatment for post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a type of neuropathic pain that can occur after shingles. According to researcher Anand Patel, MD, of Conquest Research in Florida, the drug inhibits adapter protein 2-associated kinase-1 (AAK1), which is known to cause neuropathic pain. The drug performed well in a phase II study with 79 patients, showing a 2.42-point decrease in average daily pain scores after 6 weeks. However, the primary efficacy endpoint was missed due to a high rate of adverse events leading to early dropouts. A new study is being developed to optimize the dosing of LX9211.
AAK1 has emerged as a promising target for neuropathic pain therapy, and LX9211 has shown significant reductions in pain scores for diabetic neuropathy in a previous study. In the new trial, called RELIEF-PHN1, patients were randomized to LX9211 or placebo, with the drug showing a clear advantage in a secondary outcome. However, adverse events were more common with the active agent, with dizziness reported by 29% of patients on LX9211 compared to 5% of the placebo group. Patel believes that this may have been due to a large loading dose, and a new trial is being developed to test other dosing regimens.
Despite missing the primary efficacy endpoint, LX9211 still shows promise for the treatment of PHN, and the development of a non-opioid drug for neuropathic pain would be a significant breakthrough for patients.
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