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Life Sci. 1990;46(14):991-8.

Objective assessment of clonidine analgesia in man and influence of naloxone.

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Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland.


Experimental data indicate that clonidine can induce marked analgesia. We characterized this effect in healthy volunteers and investigated possible links with the opioid peptide system by means of naloxone antagonism. According to a cross-over, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, 10 subjects received oral and i.v. placebo or clonidine (0.2 mg p.o.) or clonidine and naloxone (2.8 mg i.v. in 5 h). Analgesia was assessed by measurement of the subjective pain threshold (visual analog scale) and the objective nociceptive flexion reflex (R III) threshold after transcutaneous electrical stimulations. A correlation was observed between subjective and objective thresholds (r: 0.78). Oral clonidine alone or with naloxone increased subjective and objective pain thresholds for at least 4 hours (p less than 0.01, ANOVA). Naloxone tended to reinforce clonidine analgesia. Only moderate and well tolerated side-effects were observed.

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