Opioid Receptor Agonist Market : Competitive Landscape, Pipeline, and Market Analysis 2023

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Opioid Receptors are G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). They regulate how the body reacts to the majority of hormones, neurotransmitters, and medications. They also have a role in the sensory perception of smell, taste, and vision. The opioid system consists of at least three distinct opioid receptors; mu, kappa, and delta. These receptors are widely distributed in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nociceptors. There are three classical receptors (DOP, KOP, and MOP). The novel NOP receptor is a non-opioid branch of the opioid receptor family. The mechanism of action (MOA) of opioid agonists is they bind to G-protein coupled receptors to cause cellular hyperpolarisation and MOP receptor agonists act in the central and peripheral nervous system to elicit analgesia. Opioid receptors bind to three major groups of endogenous opioid peptides including enkephalins, endorphins, and dynorphins. Opioid receptors are activated by exogenous opiates (such as morphine) or endogenous peptides (such as beta-endorphin) modulating nociception. Opiate receptor activation by opiates results in feelings of reward and activates the pleasure circuit by causing greater amounts of DA to be released. Opioid Receptor Agonists are used to treat CNS disorders, mood disorders, back pain, respiratory tract diseases, arthritis, digestive system disease, wound and injuries, anxiety, diabetes mellitus, and ear diseases. The increased prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and the changing lifestyle resulting in various CNS disorders, back and neck pain in younger as well as older population are the key drivers for Opioid Receptor Agonist market. For instance, according to the World Health Organization 2022, Approximately 1.71 billion people have musculoskeletal conditions worldwide. Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading contributor to disability worldwide, with low back pain being the single leading cause of disability in 160 countries. The launch of newer products by the market players significantly enhances the revenue of Opioid Receptor Agonists market over the forecast years. For instance, Trevena’s Olinvyk (Oliceridine) for the treatment of severe acute pain. Moreover, the development of other molecules by many market players creates lucrative opportunity for the opioid receptor agonists market. For instance, AbbVie’s Vicodin CR (acetaminophen/hydrocodon) for joint pain, Assertio’s Hydrocodone (EG-P113) for cough, pain, and lung disease are under the various stages of clinical studies.

Opioid Receptor Agonist Market Key Developments:

  • In August 2020, FDA has approved Trevena’s Olinvyk (Oliceridine) for the new indication of management of moderate to severe acute pain in adults.

Approved Drug Molecules and Brand Names for Opioid Receptor Agonist:

  • Brixadi (Buprenorphine)
  • Zubsolv (Buprenorphine And Naloxone)
  • Abstral (Fentanyl Sublingual Tablets)
  • Viberzi (Eluxadoline)
  • Targiniq ER (Oxycodone Hydrochloride + Naloxone Hydrochloride)
  • Subsys (Fentanyl Sublingual Spray)
  • Subutex/Suboxone (Buprenorphine/Naloxone)
  • Dsuvia (Sufentanil)
  • Korsuva (Difelikefalin)
  • Oxecta (Oxycodone Hcl)
  • Belbuca (Buprenorphine) Buccal Film
  • Olinvyk (Oliceridine)

Drugs under the Pipeline for Opioid Receptor Agonist:

  • Vicodin Cr (Acetaminophen/Hydrocodone)
  • Zohydro ER (Hydrocodone Bitartrate Extended Release)
  • Hydexor (Promethazine/Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen)
  • Hydrocodone And Acetaminophen (MNK-155)
  • Trimebutine 3-Thiocarbamoylbenzenesulfonate (GIC-1001)
  • ORADUR-Based Opioids #2
  • Pavacol-D (Pholcodine)
  • Ser100
  • Hydrocodone (EG-P113)
  • Gic-1002
  • Hydrocodone Bitartrate/Acetaminophen Immediate-Release Tablets (TV-46763)
  • Opipramol/Nicotine (ND0801)

Clinical Activity and Developments of Opioid Receptor Agonist:

  • Till June 2023, more than 15 companies have approximately 23 molecules targeting above 481 diseases. For these molecules, more than 60 clinical trials are being conducted and majority are in phase-2 and phase-3 clinical trials. For instance,
  • In June 2023, Trevena completed phase 3, open-label study to evaluate the safety of  Oliceridine in patients with acute pain and postoperative pain. 
  • In May 2023, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals completed a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, active-controlled, parallel-group, multi-center trial for assessing safety and efficacy of long acting subcutaneous injectable depot of Buprenorphine in the treatment of adult with opioid use disorder.

Molecule Name

Number of Studies

Vicodin Cr (Acetaminophen/Hydrocodone)


Zohydro ER (Hydrocodone Bitartrate Extended Release)


Hydexor (Promethazine/Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen) 


Hydrocodone And Acetaminophen (MNK-155) 


Trimebutine 3-Thiocarbamoylbenzenesulfonate  (GIC-1001)


Target Indication Analysis of Opioid Receptor Agonists:

The molecules such as Brixadi (Buprenorphine) developed by Braeburn for the line of treatment of moderate to severe opioid use disorder in patients who have initiated treatment with a single dose of a transmucosal buprenorphine product. Orexo’s Zubsolv (Buprenorphine and Naloxone) is used for the treatment of opioid dependence. ProStrakan’s Abstral (Fentanyl Sublingual Tablets) is used for the treatment of management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients 18 years of age and older who are already receiving, and who are tolerant to, opioid therapy. AbbVie’s Viberzi (Eluxadoline) is used in adults for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea.



Frequently Asked Questions

Brixadi (Buprenorphine), Zubsolv (Buprenorphine And Naloxone), Abstral (Fentanyl Sublingual Tablets), and Viberzi (Eluxadoline)are the few FDA approved Opioid Receptor Agonists .

Sales of Korsuva (Difelikefalin) by Cara Therapeutics were US$ 2.3 million in the fourth quarter of the FY2022.

Abbvie Inc., Braeburn Inc., Orexo, Cara Therapeutics, Trevena Inc. are a few leading market players.

Major Indications for Opioid Receptor Agonists are CNS disorders, mood disorders, back pain, respiratory tract diseases, arthritis, and digestive system disorders.

There are a total of 12 molecules that are in Phase-1, Phase-2, and Phase-3 clinical development.

Key Features of the Reports

  • The report provides granular level information about the market size, regional market share, historic market (2019-2023), and forecast (2024-2030)
  • The report covers in-detail insights about the competitor’s overview, company share analysis, key market developments, and their key strategies
  • The report outlines drivers, restraints, unmet needs, and trends that are currently affecting the market
  • The report tracks recent innovations, key developments, and start-up details that are actively working in the market
  • The report provides a plethora of information about market entry strategies, regulatory framework, and reimbursement scenario
  • Braeburn Inc.(USA)
  • Orexo (Sweden)
  • ProStrakan (UK)
  • Abbvie Inc.(USA)
  • Purdue Pharma (USA)
  • Reckitt Benckiser (UK)
  • AcelRx Pharmaceuticals (USA)
  • Cara Therapeutics (USA)
  • Pfizer Inc.(USA)
  • Biodelivery Sciences (USA)
  • Trevena Inc.(USA)

Adjacent Markets