Dextromethorphan potentiates the effect of morphine in rats with peripheral neuropathy

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NEUROPATHIC pain responds poorly to opioids. We now report that combination of systemic morphine (2 mg/kg) and dextromethorphan (45 mg/kg), a clinically available antitussive with NMDA-antagonist properties, markedly alleviated mechanical and cold allodynia-like behavior in a rat model of peripheral mononeuropathy. Neither drug produced a significant effect on its own at these doses. The anti-allodynic effect of morphine plus dextromethorphan was reversed by naloxone. The present results suggest that a combination of NMDA-antagonist and opiates might be effective in treating neuropathic pain. Furthermore, the effect of this drug combination is mainly mediated via opioid receptors.

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