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Pharmacol Rep. 2009 Nov-Dec;61(6):1096-104.

Magnesium ions and opioid agonists in vincristine-induced neuropathy.

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Department of Pharmacodynamics, Medical University of Warsaw, Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, PL 00-927 Warszawa, Poland.


Neuropathic pain is difficult to treat. Classic analgesics (i.e., opioid receptor agonists) usually possess low activity. Therefore other agents such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and corticosteroids are used. It is commonly known that NMDA antagonists increase analgesic activity of opioids. Unfortunately, clinical use of NMDA antagonists is limited because of the relatively frequent occurrence of adverse effects e.g., memory impairment, psychomimetic effects, ataxia and motor in-coordination. Magnesium ions (Mg(2+)) are NMDA receptor blockers in physiological conditions. Therefore, in this study the effect of opioid receptor agonists and the influence of Mg(2+) on the action of opioid agonists in vincristine-induced hyperalgesia were examined. Opioid agonists such as morphine (5 mg/kg, ip), and fentanyl (0.0625 mg/kg, ip), as well as the partial agonist buprenorphine (0.075 mg/kg, ip) administered alone on 5 consecutives days did not modify the hyperalgesia in vincristine rats. In contrast, pretreatment with a low dose of magnesium sulfate (30 mg/kg, ip) resulted in a progressive increase of the analgesic action of all three investigated opioids. After discontinuation of drug administration, the effect persisted for several days.

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