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      Pharmacological rationale for tapentadol therapy: a review of new evidence

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          Chronic pain could be considered as a neurological disorder. Therefore, appropriate selection of the therapy, which should consider the pathophysiological mechanisms of pain, can result in a successful analgesic outcome. Tapentadol is an analgesic drug which acts both as a μ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonist and as a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (NRI), thereby generating a synergistic action in terms of analgesic efficacy, but not for the burden of adverse effects. Therefore, tapentadol can be defined as the first “MOR-NRI” drug. This molecule holds the potential to address at least some of the current limitations of analgesic therapy due to its unique mechanism of action and has shown to be safe and effective in the treatment of chronic pain of cancer and noncancer etiologies including nociceptive, neuropathic and mixed pain. In particular, the MOR component of tapentadol activity predominantly allows for analgesia in nociceptive pain; on the other hand, the NRI component contributes, now in a predominant manner, for analgesic efficacy in cases of neuropathic pain states. This paper will discuss recent pieces of evidence on the pathophysiology of pain, the background on tapentadol and then present some new studies on how the unique mechanism of action of tapentadol provides a key role in its analgesic efficacy in a number of pain states and with a favorable safety profile.

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          Most cited references 35

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          Neuronal plasticity: increasing the gain in pain.

          We describe those sensations that are unpleasant, intense, or distressing as painful. Pain is not homogeneous, however, and comprises three categories: physiological, inflammatory, and neuropathic pain. Multiple mechanisms contribute, each of which is subject to or an expression of neural plasticity-the capacity of neurons to change their function, chemical profile, or structure. Here, we develop a conceptual framework for the contribution of plasticity in primary sensory and dorsal horn neurons to the pathogenesis of pain, identifying distinct forms of plasticity, which we term activation, modulation, and modification, that by increasing gain, elicit pain hypersensitivity.
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            Diffuse noxious inhibitory controls and nerve injury: restoring an imbalance between descending monoamine inhibitions and facilitations.

            Diffuse noxious inhibitory controls (DNICs) utilize descending inhibitory controls through poorly understood brain stem pathways. The human counterpart, conditioned pain modulation, is reduced in patients with neuropathy aligned with animal data showing a loss of descending inhibitory noradrenaline controls together with a gain of 5-HT3 receptor-mediated facilitations after neuropathy. We investigated the pharmacological basis of DNIC and whether it can be restored after neuropathy. Deep dorsal horn neurons were activated by von Frey filaments applied to the hind paw, and DNIC was induced by a pinch applied to the ear in isoflurane-anaesthetized animals. Spinal nerve ligation was the model of neuropathy. Diffuse noxious inhibitory control was present in control rats but abolished after neuropathy. α2 adrenoceptor mechanisms underlie DNIC because the antagonists, yohimbine and atipamezole, markedly attenuated this descending inhibition. We restored DNIC in spinal nerve ligated animals by blocking 5-HT3 descending facilitations with the antagonist ondansetron or by enhancing norepinephrine modulation through the use of reboxetine (a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, NRI) or tapentadol (μ-opioid receptor agonist and NRI). Additionally, ondansetron enhanced DNIC in normal animals. Diffuse noxious inhibitory controls are reduced after peripheral nerve injury illustrating the central impact of neuropathy, leading to an imbalance in descending excitations and inhibitions. Underlying noradrenergic mechanisms explain the relationship between conditioned pain modulation and the use of tapentadol and duloxetine (a serotonin, NRI) in patients. We suggest that pharmacological strategies through manipulation of the monoamine system could be used to enhance DNIC in patients by blocking descending facilitations with ondansetron or enhancing norepinephrine inhibitions, so possibly reducing chronic pain.
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              Tapentadol and its two mechanisms of action: is there a new pharmacological class of centrally-acting analgesics on the horizon?

               H Kress (2010)

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                16 May 2019
                : 12
                : 1513-1520
                [1 ]Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnologies Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Bologna 40126, Italy
                [2 ]Laboratory of Neuroplasticity, Department Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara 28100, Italy
                [3 ]Departiment of Pharmacological Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara 28100, Italy
                [4 ]Department of Drug Science and Technology, University of Turin, Turin 10121, Italy
                [5 ]Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK, anthony.dickenson@ 123456ucl.ac.uk
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Anthony H Dickenson, Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, Gower St, London WC1E 6BT, UK, Tel +44 20 7679 3742, Email anthony.dickenson@ 123456ucl.ac.uk
                © 2019 Romualdi et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.


                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                tapentadol, neuropathic pain, pain chronicization


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