AMPA/Kainate Antagonist LY293558 Reduces Capsaicin-evoked Hyperalgesia but Not Pain in Normal Skin in Humans

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Animal studies suggest that [small alpha, Greek]-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid-kainate (AMPA-KA) receptors are involved in pain processing. The effects of the competitive AMPA-KA antagonist LY293558 in two types of experimental pain in human volunteers, brief pain sensations in normal skin, and mechanical allodynia-pinprick hyperalgesia were studied after the injection of intradermal capsaicin.


Brief intravenous infusions of the competitive AMPA-KA antagonist LY293558 were given to 25 healthy volunteers to examine acute toxicity and analgesic effects. Fifteen volunteers then entered a double-blinded, three-period crossover study. In a Phase II study, LY293558 infusions (100% maximally tolerated dose vs. 33% maximally tolerated dose vs. placebo) began 10 min after intradermal injection of 250 [micro sign]g capsaicin in volar forearm. Spontaneous pain, areas of mechanical allodynia and pinprick hyperalgesia, and side effects were determined every 5 min for 60 min.


The median maximally tolerated dose was 1.3 +/− 0.4 (range, 0.9-2.0) mg/kg. Tests of cognitive and neurological function were unchanged. Dose-limiting side effects were hazy vision in 95% of volunteers and sedation in 40%. There were no significant changes in electrical or warm-cool detection and pain thresholds or heat pain thresholds. LY293558 had little effect on brief pain sensations in normal skin. Both high and low doses of LY293558 significantly reduced pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and the area in which light brush evoked pain after intradermal capsaicin. There was a trend toward a dose-response effect of LY293558 on the area in which pinprick evoked pain after intradermal capsaicin, which did not reach statistical significance.


The authors infer that AMPA-KA receptor blockade reduces the spinal neuron sensitization that mediates capsaicin-evoked pain and allodynia. The low incidence of side effects at effective doses of LY293558 suggests that this class of drugs may prove to be useful in clinical pain states.

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