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Anesth Analg. 2004 Feb;98(2):401-7, table of contents.

The effects of remifentanil and gabapentin on hyperalgesia in a new extended inflammatory skin pain model in healthy volunteers.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia and General Intensive Care Medicine (B), University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


We tested the responsiveness of measures of hyperalgesia in a model of UVB-induced inflammatory hyperalgesia with remifentanil, gabapentin, and the combination of both drugs in a double-blinded, active placebo-controlled, 4-way-crossover design in 16 volunteers. A circular skin area was irradiated with UVB-light 20 h before the application of gabapentin (600 mg) and 2 h later remifentanil (0.08, 40 min). In the sunburn spots we observed stable decreases of the heat pain perception thresholds (HPPT, mean difference, 4.45 degrees C; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.32 degrees -5.59 degrees ) and heat pain tolerance thresholds (HPTT; mean difference, 5.43 degrees C; 95% CI, 4.50 degrees -6.35 degrees ) compared with normal skin. Further, large areas of mechanical hyperalgesia to pinprick adjacent to the erythema spots developed in all subjects. Overall remifentanil increased the HPPT (mean increase, 2.47 degrees C; 95% CI, 1.86 degrees -3.09 degrees, P < 0.001) and HPTT (mean increase, 3.18 degrees C; 95% CI, 2.65 degrees -3.71 degrees, P < 0.001) and reduced the area of secondary hyperalgesia by 59% (mean decrease, 5326 mm(2); 95% CI, 4233-6419 mm(2), P < 0.001) compared with placebo. In the sunburn remifentanil markedly increased the HPTT by 86% compared with normal skin (additional increase, 2.57 degrees C; 95% CI, 1.71 degrees -3.43 degrees). This different effect was not seen in the HPPT. With the exception of a small increase of HPTT in the sunburn (P = 0.02) gabapentin had no noticeable effect on either hyperalgesia. In conclusion, opioid analgesia was reliably demonstrated in this new extended pain model.


Opioid analgesia was reliably demonstrated in a new inflammatory model of primary and secondary hyperalgesia. Gabapentin showed no antihyperalgesic and no opioid-enhancing effect in this model.

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