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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Jan 2020 - 17 Jan 2020


Pharmacology/Drug Development


Front Neurosci


Monoamines as Drug Targets in Chronic Pain: Focusing on Neuropathic Pain.


Bravo L, Llorca-Torralba M, Berrocoso E, Micó J A
Front Neurosci. 2019; 13:1268.
PMID: 31942167.


Monoamines are involved in regulating the endogenous pain system and indeed, peripheral and central monoaminergic dysfunction has been demonstrated in certain types of pain, particularly in neuropathic pain. Accordingly, drugs that modulate the monaminergic system and that were originally designed to treat depression are now considered to be first line treatments for certain types of neuropathic pain (e.g., serotonin and noradrenaline (and also dopamine) reuptake inhibitors). The analgesia induced by these drugs seems to be mediated by inhibiting the reuptake of these monoamines, thereby reinforcing the descending inhibitory pain pathways. Hence, it is of particular interest to study the monoaminergic mechanisms involved in the development and maintenance of chronic pain. Other analgesic drugs may also be used in combination with monoamines to facilitate descending pain inhibition (e.g., gabapentinoids and opioids) and such combinations are often also used to alleviate certain types of chronic pain. By contrast, while NSAIDs are thought to influence the monoaminergic system, they just produce consistent analgesia in inflammatory pain. Thus, in this review we will provide preclinical and clinical evidence of the role of monoamines in the modulation of chronic pain, reviewing how this system is implicated in the analgesic mechanism of action of antidepressants, gabapentinoids, atypical opioids, NSAIDs and histaminergic drugs.