First pain drug in new class comes from snail

January 24, 2005

Elan Pharmaceuticals received Food & Drug Administration approval in late December for Prialt (ziconotide intrathecal infusion), a new alternative for patients with severe chronic pain.The drug is the first in a new class of non-opioid pain relievers known as N-type calcium-channel blockers and is the synthetic equivalent of a naturally occurring conopeptide found in the venom of a South Pacific marine snail, Conus magus.