08-24-2003, 07:11 PM
• Haderer A, Gerner P, Kao G, Srinivasa V and Wang GK (2003). Cutaneous analgesia after transdermal application of amitriptyline versus lidocaine in rats. Anesth Analg 96:1707-10, table of contents. Summary: Amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, has potent local anesthetic properties. However, there is no report of cutaneous analgesic effects after transdermal application. We report here that transdermally applied amitriptyline is more potent than lidocaine in providing cutaneous analgesia in rats. Solutions of amitriptyline base in 50, 100, and 500 mM concentrations were applied as a patch to rats, and their effects were compared with those of lidocaine base at the same concentrations and of the vehicle alone (45% water, 45% isopropyl alcohol, and 10% glycerin). Rats in each test group developed a concentration-dependent cutaneous analgesic block in the areas to which the drugs were applied; however, amitriptyline produced a longer block than lidocaine at the same concentration. The development of amitriptyline as a longer-lasting topical analgesic may improve our ability to treat chronic pain, such as neuropathic pain and neuralgia, and to prevent pain in procedures such as venipuncture. IMPLICATIONS: The tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline, often used perorally for the management of chronic pain, is shown here to be more potent than lidocaine in providing cutaneous analgesia when applied transdermally with an occlusive dressing in rats. Department of Anesthesiology, Ried General Hospital, Ried, Austria.