Behavioral Pharmacology of Pain.
Behavioral Neurobiology of Chronic Pain
Current topics in behavioral neurosciences, February 2014
Bradley K. Taylor, David P. Finn
Behavioral methods are extensively used in pain research. Rodent modeling tends to rely on evoked responses but there is a growing interest in behavioral readouts that may capture elements of ongoing pain and disability, reflecting the major clinical signs and symptoms. Clinically, analgesics show greater efficacy in acute pain after standard surgery than in chronic conditions but are never completely effective on a population basis. In contrast, experimental pharmacological studies in rodents often demonstrate full efficacy, but there is variability in sensitivity between models and readouts. Full efficacy is rarely seen when more complex or multiple readouts are used to quantify behavior, especially after acute surgery or in studies of clinical pain in animals. Models with excellent sensitivity for a particular drug class exist and are suitable for screening mechanistically similar drugs. However, if used to compare drugs with different modes of action or to predict magnitude of clinical efficacy, these models will be misleading. Effective use of behavioral pharmacology in pain research is thus dependent on selection and validation of the best models for the purpose.
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