Neuropathic pain is a severe clinical problem, often appearing as a co-symptom of many diseases or manifesting as a result of damage to the nervous system. Many drugs and agents are currently used for the treatment of neuropathic pain, such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). The aims of this paper were to test the effects of two classic TCAs, doxepin and amitriptyline, in naïve animals and in a model of neuropathic pain and to determine the role of cytokine activation in the effects of these drugs. All experiments were carried out with Albino-Swiss mice using behavioral tests (von Frey test and the cold plate test) and biochemical analyses (qRT-PCR and Western blot). In the mice subjected to chronic constriction injury (CCI), doxepin and amitriptyline attenuated the symptoms of neuropathic pain and diminished the CCI-induced increase in the levels of spinal interleukin (IL)-6 and -1β mRNA, but not the protein levels of these cytokines, measured on day 12. Unexpectedly, chronic administration of doxepin or amitriptyline for 12 days produced allodynia and hyperalgesia in naïve mice. The treatment with these drugs did not influence the spinal levels of IL-1β and IL-6 mRNA, however, the protein levels of these pronociceptive factors were increased. The administration of ondansetron (5-HT3 receptor antagonist) significantly weakened the allodynia and hyperalgesia induced by both antidepressants in naïve mice; in contrast, yohimbine (α2-adrenergic receptors antagonist) did not influence these effects. Allodynia and hyperalgesia induced in naïve animals by amitriptyline and doxepin may be associated with an increase in the levels of pronociceptive cytokines resulting from 5-HT3-induced hypersensitivity. Our results provide new and important information about the possible side effects of antidepressants. Further investigation of these mechanisms may help to guide decisions about the use of classic TCAs for therapy.
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Chronic pain in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) is a difficult problem for which there is no simple method of treatment. Few randomized controlled trials of medications for pain in persons with SCI have been conducted. This study was designed to determine whether amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, is efficacious in relieving chronic pain and improving pain-related physical and psychosocial dysfunction in persons with SCI. Eighty-four participants with SCI and chronic pain were randomized to a 6-week trial of amitriptyline or an active placebo, benztropine mesylate. All pre- and post-treatment assessments were conducted by evaluators blind to the allocation. Regression analyses were conducted to examine whether there was a medication group effect on the primary (average pain intensity) and secondary outcome measures. No significant differences were found between the groups in pain intensity or pain-related disability post-treatment, in either intent-to-treat analyses or analyses of study completers. These findings do not support the use of amitriptyline in the treatment of chronic pain in this population, but we cannot rule out the possibility that certain subgroups may benefit.
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Pain decreased during the two week placebo run-in period in both the sham device and placebo pill groups, but changes were not different between the groups (-0.14, 95% confidence interval -0.52 to 0.25, P = 0.49). Changes in severity scores for arm symptoms and grip strength were similar between groups, but arm function improved more in the placebo pill group (2.0, 0.06 to 3.92, P = 0.04). Longitudinal regression analyses that followed participants throughout the treatment period showed significantly greater downward slopes per week on the 10 point arm pain scale in the sham device group than in the placebo pill group (-0.33 (-0.40 to -0.26) v -0.15 (-0.21 to -0.09), P = 0.0001) and on the symptom severity scale (-0.07 (-0.09 to -0.05) v -0.05 (-0.06 to -0.03), P = 0.02). Differences were not significant, however, on the function scale or for grip strength. Reported adverse effects were different in the two groups.
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Blood pressure, heart rate and electrocardiograms were recorded in conscious rats during intravenous injections of consecutively increasing doses of zimelidine, amitriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine and imipramine. The tricyclic antidepressants (TCA's) increased blood pressure from low doses and induced shortlasting decreases in blood pressure at higher doses. Heart rate was initially increased by amitriptyline while the other TCA's tended to decrease heart rate dose-dependently. The TCA's prolonged the QRS and QT intervals dose-dependently from low doses and the PR interval from intermediate doses. Zimelidine did not affect blood pressure or heart rate until high doses were given. The PR interval was not affected by zimelidine. Moderate to high doses of zimelidine prolonged the QT length and high doses widened the QRS complex. The results indicate a good cardiovascular tolerance for zimelidine.
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We identified 4452 milnacipran-venlafaxine and 3761 milnacipran-amitriptyline matched pairs. The matched cohorts had similar baseline characteristics. The unadjusted IRRs of any CV events, comparing milnacipran with venlafaxine or amitriptyline, were 1.02 (95% CI 0.73 to 1.44) and 1.30 (95% CI 0.90 to 1.89), respectively. Adjusted IRRs confirmed the statistical similarity in the CV event risk between milnacipran and venlafaxine (adjusted IRR = 1.29, 95% CI 0.76 to 2.17) or amitriptyline (adjusted IRR = 1.06, 95% CI 0.59 to 1.89).
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Older people are exposed to multiple medicines that possess anticholinergic properties. The use of anticholinergic medicines is associated with the risk of morbidity, mortality and cognitive decline, particularly in older people. Anticholinergic exposure can be measured using tools such as the Drug Burden Index-Anticholinergic component (DBI-ACh) and the Anticholinergic Drug Scale (ADS).
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Six women, aged 35-64, had non-length-dependent SFN, related to Crohn disease, impaired glucose tolerance and Sjögren's syndrome, or idiopathic (three cases). In all patients, CCM demonstrated decreased corneal nerve fibre density (12.5-23.4/mm(2); normal, >30.6/mm(2)).
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Amitriptyline has been a first-line treatment for neuropathic pain for many years. The fact that there is no supportive unbiased evidence for a beneficial effect is disappointing, but has to be balanced against decades of successful treatment in many people with neuropathic pain. There is no good evidence of a lack of effect; rather our concern should be of overestimation of treatment effect. Amitriptyline should continue to be used as part of the treatment of neuropathic pain, but only a minority of people will achieve satisfactory pain relief. Limited information suggests that failure with one antidepressant does not mean failure with all.
Cockayne syndrome (CS) is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by growth abnormalities, premature aging, and photosensitivity. Mutation of Cockayne syndrome B (CSB) affects neuronal gene expression and differentiation, so we attempted to bypass its function by expressing downstream target genes. Intriguingly, ectopic expression of Synaptotagmin 9 (SYT9), a key component of the machinery controlling neurotrophin release, bypasses the need for CSB in neuritogenesis. Importantly, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin implicated in neuronal differentiation and synaptic modulation, and pharmacological mimics such as 7,8-dihydroxyflavone and amitriptyline can compensate for CSB deficiency in cell models of neuronal differentiation as well. SYT9 and BDNF are downregulated in CS patient brain tissue, further indicating that sub-optimal neurotrophin signaling underlies neurological defects in CS. In addition to shedding light on cellular mechanisms underlying CS and pointing to future avenues for pharmacological intervention, these data suggest an important role for SYT9 in neuronal differentiation.
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Amitriptyline is the most common analgesic adjuvant used in cancer patients with neuropathic pain, even though no specific studies have demonstrated a benefit. A randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study was designed to evidence the effects of amitriptyline in patients with neuropathic cancer pain.