Enhancement of antinociception by co-administration of ibuprofen and caffeine in arthritic rats

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It has been observed that caffeine improves antinociceptive efficacy of some non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in several experimental models, however, these effects have been questioned in humans. Controversy in clinical studies may be due to the use of different protocols as well as to high interindividual variability in patient response. In addition, the antinociceptive interaction of ibuprofen + caffeine has not been studied. To assess a possible synergistic antinociceptive interaction, the antinociceptive effects of ibuprofen, and caffeine administered either separately or in combinations were determined in a model of arthritic pain: “Pain-induced functional impairment in the rat (PIFIR model). The antinociceptive efficacies were evaluated using several dose–response curves and time courses. The antinociceptive effects from the combination that produced the greater effect were compared with the maximal antinociceptive effect of either morphine or acetylsalicylic acid alone. The animals were administered with 0.05 ml intra-articular (i.a.) of uric acid to induce nociception. Groups of six rats received either acetylsalicylic acid, morphine, ibuprofen or caffeine, or a combination ibuprofen + caffeine (18 combinations). We report here that caffeine (17.8 and 31.6 mg/kg) is able to potentiate the antinociceptive effect of ibuprofen. This investigation showed that six combinations presented effects of potentiation and twelve combinations only showed antinociceptive effects not different from that of ibuprofen alone. The maximum antinociceptive effect was 270.7 ± 12.7 area units (au), produced by ibuprofen 100 mg/kg + caffeine 17.8 mg/kg; this effect was greater than the maximum produced by morphine 17.8 mg/kg (244.7 ± 22.9 au) in these experimental conditions. The maximum potentiation was 197 % produced with the combination of ibuprofen 17.8 mg/kg + caffeine 17.8 mg/kg. These results suggest that the antinociceptive effect of ibuprofen was significantly potentiated by doses of caffeine that by themselves are ineffective in this model.

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