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Pain. 2004 Jul;110(1-2):432-8.

Site 1 sodium channel blockers prolong the duration of sciatic nerve blockade from tricyclic antidepressants.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Many recent reports in the literature address the local anesthetics efficacy of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Here we investigated whether nerve block from TCAs is prolonged by site 1 sodium channel blockers such as tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin, which are known to prolong block from conventional local anesthetics. Tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin greatly prolonged block from TCAs. For example, the median duration of thermal nociceptive blocks for 10 mM amitriptyline, nortriptyline and doxepin were 0, 0, and 124 min; co-injection with 20 microM TTX (median block duration=0), yielded blocks lasting 404, 325, and 697 min, respectively. Co-injection of 12 microM saxitoxin (median block duration=0) with 10 mM amitriptyline resulted in a thermal nociceptive block duration of 373 min. Co-injection of 7.7 mM bupivacaine and 7.7 mM amiptriptyline did not result in block prolongation. Systemic (subcutaneous) delivery of tetrodotoxin or amitriptyline did not result in prolongation of block from the other class of drug injected at the sciatic nerve. In TCA-containing formulations, motor blockade was consistently longer than thermal nociceptive block; motor blockade was also prolonged by tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin. In summary site 1 sodium channel blockers prolong the duration of TCAs via a locally mediated mechanism.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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