Preclinical Pain Research: Can We Do Better?

Anesthesiology. 2016 Nov;125(5):846-849. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000001340.


Regrettably, the list of unique analgesic tools has expanded very slowly during the past few decades. Many very promising drugs have failed once tested in clinical populations, and the associated costs of these translational failures have been extremely high. Part of this problem can be traced to the ways we select and use preclinical tools and perhaps to the way we report our findings. We are beginning to reevaluate our selection of animal models and the methods we use to measure pain-related responses in these animals. In addition, many journals now require a clear statement of the experimental hypothesis, the details of the experimental methods, a description of the statistical approach to analyzing the data, and the disclosure of conflicts of interest. These new practices pose challenges to laboratory-based research groups. However, a more rigorous approach to preclinical investigations may be necessary for the successful development of new analgesics.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Research Design*


  • Analgesics