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J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2016 Jan;55(1):74-82.

Analgesic Activity of Tramadol and Buprenorphine after Voluntary Ingestion by Rats (Rattus norvegicus).

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Animal Care Services, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Animal Care Services, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida;, Email:
Department of Orthodontics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.


Effective pain management for rats and mice is crucial due to the continuing increase in the use of these species in biomedical research. Here we used a recently validated operant orofacial pain assay to determine dose-response curves for buprenorphine and tramadol when mixed in nut paste and administered to male and female rats. Statistically significant analgesic doses of tramadol in nut paste included doses of 20, 30, and 40 mg/kg for female rats but only 40 mg/kg for male rats. For male rats receiving buprenorphine mixed in nut paste, a significant analgesic response was observed at 0.5 and 0.6 mg/kg. None of the doses tested produced a significant analgesic response in female rats. Our results indicate that at the doses tested, tramadol and buprenorphine produced an analgesic response in male rats. In female rats, tramadol shows a higher analgesic effect than buprenorphine. The analgesic effects observed 60 min after administration of the statistically significant oral doses of both drugs were similar to the analgesic effects of 0.03 mg/kg subcutaneous buprenorphine 30 min after administration. The method of voluntary ingestion could be effective, is easy to use, and would minimize stress to the rats during the immediate postoperative period.

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