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Open Access Influence of Postoperative Analgesics on the Development of Neuropathic Pain in Rats

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Rodent models of neuropathic pain require extensive tissue manipulation to induce the lesion of interest which results in inflammation and postoperative pain that is unrelated to nerve injury per se. We sought to determine whether acute postoperative pain management affects the development of hallmark signs of neuropathic pain. Analgesic regimens (q 24 h × 3 days) were buprenorphine (0.05 and 0.1 mg/kg of body weight, s.c.), flunixin meglumine (1.1 and 2.5 mg/kg, s.c.), and fentanyl citrate (0.01 and 0.1 mg/kg, i.p.). The spared nerve injury model of neuropathic pain was used, and mechanical and cold allodynia as well as body weight gain were measured for 28 days. Buprenorphine and fentanyl alleviated mechanical sensitivity and prevented weight loss associated with the surgery (0 to 3 days), but opioid-related adverse effects were observed. Flunixin reduced wound inflammation and improved weight gain, but had no effect on nociceptive thresholds. Cold allodynia was unaltered by any treatment. By postoperative day 7, control and treatment groups did not differ with respect to weight gain or nociceptive thresholds. Our findings suggest that postsurgical inflammation and pain behavior can be ameliorated without substantially altering the long-term development of neuropathic pain, provided that the selection of agent(s) and treatment regimen(s) is appropriate and the neuropathic pain of interest is evaluated seven days after surgery.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Pharmacology, Merck Research Laboratories, Post Office Box 2000, R80Y-145, Rahway, New Jersey 07065

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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