Kendall, L. V., Singh, B., Bailey, A. L. et al. 2021. Pharmacokinetics and efficacy of a long-lasting, highly concentrated buprenorphine solution in mice. JAALAS 60(1), 64-71.
Buprenorphine is a commonly used opioid for mitigating pain in laboratory mice after surgical procedures; however, the dosing interval necessary for standard buprenorphine may require treatment every 4 to 6 h to maintain an adequate plane of analgesia. An alternative formulation that provides prolonged plasma concentration with long-lasting effects would be beneficial in achieving steady-state analgesia. We evaluated a long-lasting and highly concentrated formulation of buprenorphine (Bup-LHC) in mice. Pharmacokinetic analysis was performed to assess plasma concentrations in male C57BL/6J (B6) and female CD1 mice after subcutaneous injection of 0.9 mg/kg. The Bup-LHC formulation provided plasma drug levels that exceeded the therapeutic level for at least 12 h in male B6 mice and was below therapeutic levels by 8 h in female CD1 mice. An experimental laparotomy model was used to assess analgesic efficacy. Female CD1 mice were treated with either Bup-LHC (0.9 mg/kg) or saline at 1 h before undergoing an ovariectomy via a ventral laparotomy. At 3, 6, 12, 24, and 48 h after surgery, pain was assessed based on the following behaviors: orbital tightness, grooming, wound licking, rearing, arched posture, ataxia, piloerection, nest building, and general activity. At 3 and 6 h after surgery, Bup-LHC–treated mice had significantly less wound licking and orbital tightness and considerably higher activity levels than did saline-treated mice. At 12 h, wound licking, orbital tightness and activity in Bup-LHC–treated mice were no longer significantly different from those of saline-treated mice. The results of this study suggest that Bup-LHC at 0.9 mg/kg provides sufficient plasma concentrations for analgesia in mice for 6 to 12 h after administration, as demonstrated behaviorally for at least 6 h after surgery.