Health Tips: Resveratrol May Preserve Effects of Morphine

Resveratrol—the same natural polyphenol found in red wine—preserves the potent pain-relieving effect of morphine in rats that have developed morphine tolerance, suggests a study in the October issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, the official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS).

If the findings are confirmed in humans, resveratrol might become a useful addition to clinical pain management approaches—especially in patients with chronic, severe pain who have become tolerant to the effects of morphine. Morphine and related opioid drugs play an important role in the treatment of such severe and chronic pain, but the development of tolerance—requiring much higher doses for effective pain control—is an important limiting factor on their use.

The results add to other recent experimental evidence suggesting that resveratrol can maintain the pain-relieving effect of morphine. It also adds new information on how that effect may occur—specifically through resveratrol’s effects on the NMDA receptors and neuroinflammatory responses.