Therapeutic potential of certain drug combinations on paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy in rats

Vol. 58 No. 2, 2017


Cristina Elena Zbarcea, Ionut Cosmin Ciotu, Veronica Bild, Cornel Chirita, Alexandra Mihaela Tanase, Oana Cristina Seremet, Emil Stefanescu, Andreea Letitia Arsene, Alexandra Eugenia Bastian, Floriana Elvira Ionica, Simona Negres

Background and Aims: Experimental research and clinical data support the potential combination therapy for the treatment of neuropathic pain. We aimed to investigate the analgesic effect of the following associations: gabapentin + etifoxine; tramadol + etifoxine; gabapentin + tramadol, in an experimental model of peripheral neuropathy induced by paclitaxel. Materials and Methods: Neuropathy was induced in male Wistar rats by the daily administration of 2 mg/kg body weight (bw) paclitaxel intraperitoneally, four days in a row. Analgesics were given concomitantly with paclitaxel, in the following doses: tramadol 15 mg/kg bw, etifoxine 100 mg/kg bw, gabapentin 300 mg/kg bw. Tactile allodynia and mechanical hyperalgesia were assessed using the Dynamic Plantar Aesthesiometer apparatus (Ugo Basile). After 18 days of treatment, the brain and liver tissue susceptibility to lipid peroxidation was evaluated and the sciatic nerve histological examination of the effect on myelin fibers was performed. Results and Conclusions: Experimental data have shown a strong analgesic effect of these three tested combinations expressed mainly by the statistically significant increased maximum response time, both in the assessment of allodynia and hyperalgesia. The gabapentin + tramadol combination lead to the maximum analgesic effect, immediately after the discontinuation of paclitaxel (44.94%, p<0.0001) and throughout the study. The treatment associated with tramadol caused a reduction in lipid peroxidation in the brain as compared to paclitaxel group. Combination therapy showed reduced damage to myelinated fiber density in the sciatic nerve. The drug combinations used in the experiment showed therapeutic potential in the fight against neuropathic pain induced by the administration of taxanes.

Corresponding author: Veronica Bild, Associate Professor, Pharm, PhD; e-mail:

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