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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Jun 2023 - 30 Jun 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Neuropathic Pain

2023 May 25

Brain Sci




Phenytoin Decreases Pain-like Behaviors and Improves Opioid Analgesia in a Rat Model of Neuropathic Pain.


Kocot-Kępska M, Pawlik K, Ciapała K, Makuch W, Zajączkowska R, Dobrogowski J, Przeklasa-Muszyńska A, Mika J


Neuropathic pain remains a clinical challenge due to its complex and not yet fully understood pathomechanism, which result in limited analgesic effectiveness of the management offered, particularly for patients with acute, refractory neuropathic pain states. In addition to the introduction of several modern therapeutic approaches, such as neuromodulation or novel anti-neuropathic drugs, significant efforts have been made in the repurposing of well-known substances such as phenytoin. Although its main mechanism of action occurs at sodium channels in excitable and non-excitable cells and is well documented, how the drug affects the disturbed neuropathic interactions at the spinal cord level and how it influences morphine-induced analgesia have not been clarified, both being crucial from a clinical perspective. We demonstrated that single and repeated systemic administrations of phenytoin decreased tactile and thermal hypersensitivity in an animal model of neuropathic pain. Importantly, we observed an increase in the antinociceptive effect on thermal stimuli with repeated administrations of phenytoin. This is the first study to report that phenytoin improves morphine-induced antinociceptive effects and influences microglia/macrophage activity at the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglion levels in a neuropathic pain model. Our findings support the hypothesis that phenytoin may represent an effective strategy for neuropathic pain management in clinical practice, particularly when combination with opioids is needed.