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Papers of the Week

2021 Feb 01




Liposomal Bupivacaine (Bupigel) Demonstrates Minimal Local Nerve Toxicity in a Rabbit Functional Model.


Bavli Y, Rabie M, Fellig Y, Nevo Y, Barenholz Y
Pharmaceutics. 2021 Feb 01; 13(2).
PMID: 33535418.


We previously reported the development of a novel formulation of an ultra-long-acting local anesthetic based on bupivacaine encapsulated in large multivesicular liposomes (Bupisomes) embedded in hydrogel. This formulation (Bupigel) prolonged bupivacaine release from the formulation in dissolution-like studies in vitro and analgesia in vivo in mouse, rat, and pig models. In this study we assessed Bupigel neurotoxicity on rabbit sciatic nerve using histopathology and electrophysiologic testing. Sciatic nerves of both hind limbs were injected dropwise with different formulations. Nerve conduction studies and needle electromyography two weeks after perineural administration showed signs of neural damage after injection of free lidocaine and bupivacaine, while there was no sign of neural damage after injection with saline, demonstrating the validity of the method. This test also did not show evidence of motor or sensory nerve damage after injection with liposomal bupivacaine at a dose 10-times higher than free bupivacaine. Histologically, signs of neural damage could be observed with lidocaine. Nerves injected with Bupigel showed mild signs of inflammation and small residues of hydrogel in granulomas, indicating a long residence time of the hydrogel at the site of injection, but no histopathological signs of nerve damage. This demonstrated that early signs of neural damage were detected electrophysiologically, showing the usefulness and sensitivity of electrodiagnostic testing in detection of neural damage from new formulations.