Biotoxins for pain management


Parisa Gazerani, Camilla Staahl, Asbjørn M. Drewes and Lars Arendt-Nielsen


Traditional & Complementary Medicine Exhibition 2007 (TCME 2007), Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia




Biotoxins, Botulinum toxin type A, pain


Biotoxins, produced by bacteria, marine organisms, plants, and animals are an area of interest in medicine e.g. pain.Since pain is common, and current drugs have side-effects; the development of new drugs to treat pain, seems essential. Biotoxins in clinical research are promising for pain management and underlying mechanisms. Botulinum toxin type A(BoNTA) fromClostridium botulinumis used for excess muscle activity, low back pain, neuropathic pain, and headaches. It blocks the acetylcholine release inducing muscle relaxation; however, the pain relief mechanism is unknown. Animal andin vitrostudies have shown antinociceptive effects probably due to neurotransmitter release inhibition. Such analgesic effects are not consistent in human experimental pain models. A double-blind, randomized study was designed to determine the analgesic efficacy of BoNTA by the capsaicin pain model. Healthy males (32, 20-42 y) were assigned for BoNTA or Saline pretreatments and the analgesic effects on capsaicin-evoked pain, sensory and vasomotor responses were examined (8 weeks). BoNTA attenuates capsaicin-evoked pain, sensory and vasomotor reactions as early as the first week. Using suitable human experimental pain models could bridge the gap between animal and clinical studies and provide valuable information on efficacy, dose, administration route, and side effect profiles of biotoxins.