Experimental Study of the Analgesic Effect of the Antidepressant Escitalopram


Background: Antidepressants have been found to possess antinociceptive and analgesic properties and are prescribed in the treatment of chronic pain.

Aim: To evaluate the antinociceptive properties of escitalopram after a single administration.

Materials and methods: Forty Wistar rats were used in the study. They were divided into 5 groups (n=8) treated with saline solution (control group), metamizole (150 mg/kg b.w.), escitalopram (5, 10 and 20 mg/kg b.w.) intraperitoneally. The nociceptive tests we used employed thermal (hot plate and plantar test), mechanical (analgesimeter) and chemical (formalin test) stimuli. Criteria for analgesic effect were increased latency in hot plate, plantar test, analgesimeter and decreased paw licking time in formalin test.

Results: The reference analgesic metamizole showed significant analgesic effect in all tests excluding the first phase with formalin. Escitalopram in doses of 5 and 20 mg/kg b.w. increased paw withdrawal latency in analgesimeter at 2 hours compared to control. Escitalopram in a dose of 5 mg/kg b.w. increased the duration of the stay on the hot plate at 1 hour, while doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg b.w. significantly increased this indicator at 1 and 3 hours in comparison to the saline treated group. In the plantar test, escitalopram in all used doses significantly increased the nociceptive response latency compared to control. A dose of 5 mg/kg b.w. decreased hind paw licking time during phase 1 of the formalin test, whereas doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg b.w. decreased phase 2 licking time compared to the control group.

Conclusion: The antidepressant escitalopram has analgesic properties but they are not dose- or time-dependent.

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