TTX Progress: Burn Pain

TTX Progress: Burn Pain

March 20, 2024

Tetrodotoxin (TTX), a selective voltage-gated sodium (Na+) channel blocker, is the active ingredient in WEX Pharmaceuticals primary product under development, Halneuron®. A breakthrough in non-opioid analgesics, Halneuron® is currently being evaluated in clinical trials for the treatment of a variety of pain conditions. In this series, we will be delving into TTX’s progress throughout these trials, as its efficacy in treating different types of pain is studied. In this article, we will be looking at an early study of TTX treating burn pain in rodents. 


Burn pain can be troublesome to manage. Beyond the burn-related maladies that compound this pain, the differing types of pain (including neuropathic pain) burns can create, and the painful realities of treating the burn itself, the options to treat serious burn pain can leave much to be desired. As discussed in our previous article on the subject, overreliance on using opioids for burn pain management comes with complications. This has led to great interest in non-opioid analgesics that have shown efficacy in treating burn pain, which is why a study conducted with WEX Pharmaceuticals regarding TTX’s ability to treat thermal injuries is so promising. While TTX has shown its viability as an analgesic in trials concerning other various pain models (including Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain, or CINP), its ability to effectively manage burn pain greatly increases its potential as a non-opioid solution to a variety of painful conditions.  

TTX: A Study in Burn Pain Treatment

In a study conducted with the help of WEX Pharmaceuticals, the effectiveness of TTX in treating burn pain in rodents was studied. TTX treatments were administered via injection to a non-burned area from three days post-burn injury to seven days post-injury. On each day of treatment, the test animals were checked both 1 and 2 hours post-injection for signs of thermal hyperalgesia (a heightened sensitivity to heat) and mechanical allodynia (pain caused by light touch).  

The study revealed several key findings: 

Effectiveness in treating heat sensitivity 

The study showed that TTX significantly reduced sensitivity to a heat stimulus on each day of testing.  Notably, TTX outperformed morphine in terms of statistically significant pain reduction throughout the study.  

Effectiveness in treating light-touch pain  

While these results were less pronounced than the thermal hyperalgesia findings, TTX was also shown to significantly reduce light-touch pain on all days of treatment. With the rats that were administered morphine, the results suggested that this treatment may have resulted in analgesic tolerance in the rats. This tolerance, when contrasted with TTX’s total lack of alteration to pain behaviours or motor function, suggests TTX may be a viable alternative to opioids in treating thermal hyperalgesia, without similar side effects.  

Opioids are often a necessary evil for treating burn pain. Their side effects can be grave, but when weighed against the agonies of untreated thermal injuries, they can be a patient’s best hope for finding relief. In time, TTX may offer a viable alternative to this reality. This study highlights the potential of TTX as a promising analgesic for burn pain, filling an unmet need for effective non-opioid pain management in burn injuries. By performing statistically better than morphine in treating thermal hyperalgesia, showing additional success in alleviating mechanical allodynia, and producing none of the side effects common to opioid treatments, TTX has shown its vast potential as a new breakthrough in the world of analgesics. 






Halneuron® is still being developed and tested in clinical trials and has not yet been approved for sale by Health Canada, the United States Food & Drug Administration (US FDA), or any equivalent medical authority. This article contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities laws (collectively “forward-looking statements”), including statements regarding the safety and therapeutic utility of Halneuron® and Tetrodotoxin (TTX) as a peripheral-acting, non-opioid analgesic. Statements in this document regarding future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made. For this purpose, any statements that are contained herein that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Without limiting the foregoing, the words “believes”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “intends”, “will”, “should”, “expects”, “projects”, “manages,” “reduces,” “shows,” “promises,” “outperforms,” “affirms”, “acceptable”, “accepts”, “establishes”, “continued advancement”, “in time,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, future circumstances, or events to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These risks include, but are not limited to: those associated with the success of research and development programs, the Company’s ability to raise additional funding and the potential dilutive effects thereof, the regulatory approval process, competition, securing and maintaining corporate alliances, market acceptance of the Company’s products, the availability of government and insurance reimbursements for the Company’s products, the strength of intellectual property, reliance on subcontractors and key personnel and other risks detailed from time-to-time in the Company’s public disclosure documents and other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Forward-looking statements are developed based on assumptions about such risks, uncertainties and other factors, including, but not limited to: obtaining positive results of clinical trials, obtaining regulatory approvals, TTX is a more potent analgesic than standard analgesics, safety of product, effectiveness of drug, general business and economic conditions, the Company’s ability to successfully develop and commercialize new products, the assumption that the Company’s current good relationships with third parties will be maintained, the availability of financing on reasonable terms, the Company’s ability to attract and retain skilled staff, market competition, the products and technology offered by the Company’s competitors, and the Company’s ability to protect patents and proprietary rights. Forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof, and the Company disclaims any intention and has no obligation or responsibility, except as required by law, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.


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