Bennett, T. E., Pavek, T. J., Schwark, W. S. et al. 2021. Comparison of nociceptive effects of buprenorphine, firocoxib, and meloxicam in a plantar incision model in Sprague–Dawley rats. JAALAS 60(5), 539-548.
Due to their reduced frequency of dosing and ease of availability, NSAIDs are generally preferred over opioids for rodent analgesia. We evaluated the efficacy of the highly COX2-selective NSAID firocoxib as compared with meloxicam and buprenorphine for reducing allodynia and hyperalgesia in rats in a plantar incision model of surgical pain. After a preliminary pharmacokinetic study using firocoxib, Sprague–Dawley rats (n = 12 per group, 6 of each sex) were divided into 6 groups: no surgery (anesthesia only), saline (surgery but no analgesia), buprenorphine (0.05 mg/kg SC every 8 h), meloxicam (2 mg/kg SC every 24 h), and 2 dosages of firocoxib (10 and 20 mg/kg SC every 24 h). The nociception assays were performed by using von Frey and Hargreaves methodology to test mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia. These assays were performed at 24 h before and at 20, 28, 44, and 52 h after start of surgery. None of the analgesics used in this study produced significantly different responses in allodynia or hyperalgesia from those of saline-treated rats. In the Hargreaves assay, female saline-treated rats experienced significantly greater hyperalgesia than did males. These findings add to a growing body of literature suggesting that commonly used dosages of analgesics may not provide sufficient analgesia in rats experiencing incisional pain.