Baclofen and morphine have shown efficacy against mechanical allodynia after infraorbital nerve chronic constriction injury (IoN-CCI). No drug effects have yet been reported on spontaneous trigeminal neuropathic pain. It has been proposed that the directed face grooming behavior that also develops following IoN-CCI offers a measure of spontaneous trigeminal neuropathic pain.
We examined the effects of a continuous 1-week infusion of 30 mg/day carbamazepine (the first-line drug treatment for trigeminal neuralgia), 1.06 mg/day baclofen, 4.18 mg/day clomipramine, and 5 mg/day morphine on spontaneous and mechanically evoked pain behavior (ie, directed face grooming and von Frey testing) in IoN-CCI rats.
Isolated face grooming was significantly reduced in rats receiving carbamazepine and baclofen but not in clomipramine- or morphine-treated rats. All drugs showed significant antiallodynic effects; carbamazepine showed the strongest effects, whereas clomipramine had only minor efficacy.
The tested drugs have differential effects in the IoN-CCI model, and different neuropathological mechanisms may underlie the different somatosensory symptoms in this model. A mechanism-based approach may be needed to treat (trigeminal) neuropathic pain. The present data support IoN-CCI as a model of trigeminal neuralgia in which isolated face grooming is used as a measure of spontaneous neuropathic pain.