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Safety and clinical effectiveness of a compounded sustained-release formulation of buprenorphine for postoperative analgesia in New Zealand White rabbits

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  • 1 Department of Comparative Medicine, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642.
  • | 2 Department of Dentistry, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642.
  • | 3 Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the clinical effectiveness and safety of a compounded sustained-release formulation of buprenorphine, compared with effects of regular buprenorphine, for postoperative analgesia in rabbits.

DESIGN Blinded randomized controlled clinical trial.

ANIMALS 24 purpose-bred adult male New Zealand White rabbits.

PROCEDURES Rabbits received titanium implants in each tibia as part of another study. Immediately prior to surgery, each rabbit received regular buprenorphine hydrochloride (0.02 mg/kg [0.009 mg/lb], SC, q 12 h for 3 days) or 1 dose of a compounded sustained-release formulation of buprenorphine (0.12 mg/kg [0.055 mg/lb], SC) followed by an equal volume of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (SC, q 12 h for 3 days) after surgery. For 7 days after surgery, rabbits were evaluated for signs of pain by means of rabbit grimace and activity scoring and for adverse effects.

RESULTS No significant differences were identified between treatment groups in grimace and activity scores at any point. No major adverse effects were detected for either drug. However, 3 rabbits that received regular buprenorphine had pain scores suggestive of moderate to severe pain by the time dose admininistration was due (ie, within the 12-hour administration interval). No clinically important differences were detected in intraoperative anesthetic or postoperative recovery variables.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Sustained-release buprenorphine administered SC at 0.12 mg/kg was at least as effective as regular buprenorphine in providing analgesia for rabbits following orthopedic surgery without any major adverse effects. This sustained-release formulation represents an important alternative for rabbit analgesia with potential to improve rabbit welfare over existing analgesic standards. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2016;248:795–801)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the clinical effectiveness and safety of a compounded sustained-release formulation of buprenorphine, compared with effects of regular buprenorphine, for postoperative analgesia in rabbits.

DESIGN Blinded randomized controlled clinical trial.

ANIMALS 24 purpose-bred adult male New Zealand White rabbits.

PROCEDURES Rabbits received titanium implants in each tibia as part of another study. Immediately prior to surgery, each rabbit received regular buprenorphine hydrochloride (0.02 mg/kg [0.009 mg/lb], SC, q 12 h for 3 days) or 1 dose of a compounded sustained-release formulation of buprenorphine (0.12 mg/kg [0.055 mg/lb], SC) followed by an equal volume of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (SC, q 12 h for 3 days) after surgery. For 7 days after surgery, rabbits were evaluated for signs of pain by means of rabbit grimace and activity scoring and for adverse effects.

RESULTS No significant differences were identified between treatment groups in grimace and activity scores at any point. No major adverse effects were detected for either drug. However, 3 rabbits that received regular buprenorphine had pain scores suggestive of moderate to severe pain by the time dose admininistration was due (ie, within the 12-hour administration interval). No clinically important differences were detected in intraoperative anesthetic or postoperative recovery variables.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Sustained-release buprenorphine administered SC at 0.12 mg/kg was at least as effective as regular buprenorphine in providing analgesia for rabbits following orthopedic surgery without any major adverse effects. This sustained-release formulation represents an important alternative for rabbit analgesia with potential to improve rabbit welfare over existing analgesic standards. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2016;248:795–801)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. DiVincenti (louis_divincenti@urmc.rochester.edu).