Wednesday, 4 September 2013

How The Antibiotic Ceftriaxone Can Reduce Chronic Pain

Today's short post from (see link below) looks at the potential for an antibiotic being used for analgesic purposes. Studies have shown that a dose of Ceftriaxone, an antibiotic used to kill microbes before surgery, has a significant effect on pain thresholds after the surgery. A small Italian study is mentioned here, involving 45 patients undergoing neuro surgery of one form or another. Those patients who had been injected with a single dose of the antibiotic prior to surgery could withstand post operative pain significantly better than those who did not. There are implications for the future treatment of neuropathic pain, if the process can be further refined and better targeted. This sort of study may mean little to the casual reader but it does illustrate the process of getting a new treatment into general practice. First, as is the case here, a success story has to be spotted and then others will take the idea or theory and try to apply it to other general situations. It may take years but at least you now know that an antibiotic can perform an analgesic function and may provide an alternative pain prevention tool in the future.

Study explores analgesic activity of ceftriaxone in humans

Published on June 26, 2013

A single dose of the antibiotic ceftriaxone given for antimicrobial prophylaxis prior to surgery enhanced patient pain thresholds after the procedure, according to a study published in The Journal of Pain, the peer review publication of the American Pain Society,

Previous studies have shown that drugs with a mode of action to enhance glutamate clearance might be effective in the treatment of chronic pain. In animals, repeated does of the antibiotic ceftriaxone have reduced both visceral and neuropathic pain. The drug induces activation of the GLT-1 gene. This is the first study to explore the analgesic activity of ceftriaxone in humans.

Researchers at University Sapienza in Rome analyzed whether a single dose of ceftriaxone given for antimicrobial prophylaxis prior to surgery could enhance patient pain thresholds after surgery. Forty-five patients undergoing surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome or ulner nerve compression disease participated in the study. They were randomized in three treatment groups: IV doses of saline, saline with ceftriaxone and saline with cefazolin. Injections were administered one hour prior to surgery, and mechanical pain thresholds were measured 10 minutes before the injections and 4 to 6 hours following surgery. No analgesic drugs were allowed in the first six hours after surgery.

Results in the human subjects showed that those treated with saline and cefazolin showed no change in mechanical pain thresholds six to seven hours after surgery, but pain thresholds in patients given a single preoperative does of ceftriaxone increased significantly.

This is the first study showing analgesia resulted from administration of an antibiotic in humans. The authors concluded that ceftriaxone should be the drug of choice for surgical prophylaxis in situations when pain does not rapidly resolve following surgery or when strong pain is expected to occur after surgery.

SOURCE American Pain Society

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