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Pain Research and Management
Volume 18 (2013), Issue 5, Pages 253-258
Original Article

Synergistic Interaction between Metformin and Sulfonylureas on Diclofenac-Induced Antinociception Measured Using the Formalin Test in Rats

Mario I Ortiz1,2

1Área Académica de Medicina del Instituto de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Pachuca, Mexico
2Departamento de Postgrado de la Universidad del Fútbol y Ciencias del Deporte, San Agustín Tlaxiaca, Hidalgo, Mexico

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: There is evidence that biguanides and sulfonylureas block diclofenac-induced antinociception (DIA) in rat models. However, little is known about the interaction between these hypoglycemics with respect to DIA.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether metformin-sulfonylurea combinations affect DIA during the formalin test.

METHODS: Rats received the appropriate vehicle or diclofenac before 1% formaldehyde was injected into the paw. Rats were also pretreated with vehicle, glibenclamide, glipizide, metformin or glibenclamide/metformin and glipizide/metformin combinations before the diclofenac and formaldehyde injections, and the effect on antinociception was assessed. Isobolograms of the combinations were constructed to test for a synergistic interaction.

RESULTS: Systemic injection of diclofenac resulted in antinociception during the second phase of the test. Systemic pretreatment with the combinations of glibenclamide (0.56 mg/kg to 10 mg/kg)/metformin (10 mg/kg to 180 mg/kg) and glipizide (0.56 mg/kg to10 mg/kg)/metformin (10 mg/kg to 180 mg/kg) blocked DIA. The derived theoretical effective doses for 50% of subjects (ED50) for the glibenclamide/metformin and glipizide/metformin combinations were 32.52 mg/kg and 32.42 mg/kg, respectively, and were significantly higher than the actual observed experimental ED50 values (7.57 mg/kg and 8.43 mg/kg, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Pretreatment with glibenclamide, glipizide or metformin blocked DIA in a dose-dependent manner, and combining either sulfonylurea with metformin produced even greater effects. The observed ED50s for the combinations were approximately fourfold lower than the calculated additive effects. These data indicate that sulfonylureas interact to produce antagonism of DIA. Combination therapy is a common second-line treatment for patients with diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a group that experiences pain from multiple sources. The results suggest that at least some anti-inflammatory agents may not be effective in this group.