Lab Anim 2017 Aug 30;51(4):365-375. Epub 2016 Sep 30.
1 Comparative Pain Research Group, Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary Faculty, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
Unlike non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), metamizole has poor anti-inflammatory effects; and is suitable for models where analgesia, but not anti-inflammatory effects, is desirable. Like opioids, these drugs produce perioperative analgesia while reducing anaesthetic requirements, but it remains unclear whether they may develop tolerance or hyperalgesia, and thus decrease in analgesic efficacy. The aim was to determine whether tolerance or hyperalgesia to metamizole occurred in rats, and whether the sevoflurane minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) was affected. In a randomized, prospective, controlled study, male Wistar rats ( n = 8 per group) were administered metamizole (300 mg/kg, day 4). Previously, the following treatments were provided: daily metamizole for four days (0-3), morphine (10 mg/kg; positive control, day 0 only) or saline (negative control). The main outcome measures were mechanical (MNT) and warm thermal (WNT) nociceptive quantitative sensory thresholds. The baseline sevoflurane MAC and the reduction produced by the treatments were also determined. The mean (SD) baseline MAC [2.4(0.2)%vol] was decreased by morphine and metamizole by 45(11)% and 33(7)% ( P = 0.000, both), respectively. Baseline MNT [35.4(4.5) g] and WNT [13.2(2.4) s] were decreased by morphine and metamizole: MNT reduction of 22(6)% ( P = 0.000) and 22(7)% ( P = 0.001), respectively and WNT reduction of 34(14)% ( P = 0.000) and 24(13)% ( P = 0.001). The baseline MAC on day 4 was neither modified by treatments nor the MAC reduction produced by metamizole (days 0 and 4; P > 0.05). In conclusion, repeated metamizole administration may produce hyperalgesia, although it may not modify its anaesthetic sparing effect. The clinical relevance of this effect in painful research models requiring prolonged analgesic therapy warrants further investigation.