Specific Pain Reduction Seen With Transdermal Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine, but not fentanyl, significantly reduces bone pain and primary hyperalgesia

THURSDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Transdermal buprenorphine, but not fentanyl, significantly reduces pain in experimentally induced bone-associated pain and primary hyperalgesia, according to a study published in the October issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology.

T. Andresen, from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues compared the analgesic and anti-hyperalgesic effects of buprenorphine and fentanyl. A total of 22 healthy volunteers were randomized to receive transdermal buprenorphine, fentanyl, or placebo patches. Experimental pain tests were conducted at baseline, and 24, 48, 72, and 144 hours after drug application. The tests included pressure at the tibial bone, cutaneous electrical and thermal stimulation, intramuscular nerve growth factor, ultraviolet B (UVB) light burn injury model, and intradermal capsaicin-induced hyperalgesia.

The investigators found that, compared to placebo, buprenorphine, but not fentanyl, significantly reduced pressure at the tibial bone and pressure pain in the primary hyperalgesic area induced by UVB light. Though both drugs were equipotent and better than placebo against cutaneous thermal pain stimulation, they did not show significant analgesic effect to cutaneous electrical stimulation, nerve growth factor-induced muscle soreness, or capsaicin-induced hyperalgesia.

"Our study showed modality- and tissue-differentiated effects of buprenorphine and fentanyl. Buprenorphine had a significant analgesic effect against experimentally induced bone-associated pain and primary hyperalgesia when compared with placebo, which was not the case for fentanyl," the authors write.

The study was funded by Mundipharma Research GmbH & Co.

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