Introduction: Terpenes are natural compounds found in several organisms belonging to the animal and plant kingdoms. They constitute the largest class of natural products with > 55,000 known compounds structurally diversified. Several studies have attributed to this big family of compounds a range of pharmacological properties, such as anticancer, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antihyperglycemic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiparasitic.
Areas covered: In this review, the authors summarize therapeutic patent applications concerning the employment of terpenes for pain relief, focusing on the perspective for these compounds to become candidates for new drugs intended to control painful syndromes.
Expert opinion: Over years of tremendous academic and industrial investment in the characterization of the analgesic action of terpenes, there was the development of a successful product that has been well-accepted clinically. Furthermore, there is still hope that new therapeutic options for the control of painful syndromes will be developed from terpenes, which have been shown to be great candidates for this purpose because of the range of pharmacological mechanisms in important target sites.