Phentolamine Reverses Epinephrine-Enhanced Skin Antinociception of Dibucaine in Rats

An Kuo Chou, Chong Chi Chiu, Yu Wen Chen, Jhi Joung Wang, Ching Hsia Hung

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2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The objective of the experiment was to assess the antinociceptive effect of dibucaine, bupivacaine, and epinephrine. To assess the mechanism of action of the interaction between dibucaine and epinephrine, phentolamine, a nonselective α-adrenergic antagonist, was added to the mixture. METHODS: We assessed sensory blockade with these drugs by injecting 0.6 mL of drug-in-saline in the dorsal thoracolumbar area of rats; pinprick of the "wheal" formed by the injectate was the area targeted for stimulation to elicit a cutaneous trunci muscle reflex. The sensory block of dibucaine was compared with that of bupivacaine or epinephrine. Drug-drug interactions were analyzed by isobologram. Phentolamine was added to investigate the antinociceptive effect of dibucaine coinjected with epinephrine. RESULTS: We demonstrated that dibucaine, epinephrine, and bupivacaine produced dose-dependent skin antinociception. On the median effective dose (ED50) basis, the potency was higher for epinephrine (mean, 0.011 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.007-0.015] μmol) than for dibucaine (mean, 0.493 [95% CI, 0.435-0.560] μmol) (P <.01), while there were no significant differences between dibucaine and bupivacaine (mean, 0.450 [95% CI, 0.400-0.505] μmol). On the equipotent basis (75% effective dose, median effective dose, and 25% effective dose), sensory block duration provoked by epinephrine was greater (P <.01) than that provoked by dibucaine or bupivacaine. Coadministration of dibucaine with epinephrine produced a synergistic nociceptive block, whereas phentolamine blocked that synergistic block. CONCLUSIONS: The preclinical data indicated that there is no statistically significant difference between the potency and duration of dibucaine and bupivacaine in this model. Epinephrine synergistically enhances the effects of dibucaine, while phentolamine partially blocked those effects. α-Adrenergic receptors play an important role in controlling synergistic analgesic effect of dibucaine combined with epinephrine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1336-1343
Number of pages8
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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