Alternative intrathecal agents for the treatment of pain

Neuromodulation. 1999 Apr;2(2):85-91. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1403.1999.00085.x.


There is a need to develop alternative agents for intrathecal pain therapy for patients who either cannot tolerate the side effects of or who no longer obtain sufficient analgesia with opioids. The experimental use of several compounds in intrathecal drug delivery is currently in progress, with the development of clonidine as the single most important advance in the improvement of pain treatment. Clonidine, an α(2) -adrenergic receptor agonist, appears to be safe and effective in the treatment of cancer and nonmalignant pain, with its effects most pronounced in patients whose pain consists of a neuropathic component. Other possible effective agents for intrathecal delivery include bupivacaine, octreotide, and SNX-111. The preclinical and clinical profiles for these promising new intrathecal pain medications are discussed.