A Phase II, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled, Dose-Response Trial of the Melatonin Effect on the Pain Threshold of Healthy Subjects
Stefani, Luciana Cadore
Torres, Iraci L. S.
Rozisky, Joanna R.
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CitationStefani, Luciana Cadore, Suzana Muller, Iraci L. S. Torres, Bruna Razzolini, Joanna R. Rozisky, Felipe Fregni, Regina Markus, and Wolnei Caumo. 2013. “A Phase II, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled, Dose-Response Trial of the Melatonin Effect on the Pain Threshold of Healthy Subjects.” PLoS ONE 8 (10): e74107. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074107. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0074107.
AbstractBackground: Previous studies have suggested that melatonin may produce antinociception through peripheral and central mechanisms. Based on the preliminary encouraging results of studies of the effects of melatonin on pain modulation, the important question has been raised of whether there is a dose relationship in humans of melatonin on pain modulation. Objective: The objective was to evaluate the analgesic dose response of the effects of melatonin on pressure and heat pain threshold and tolerance and the sedative effects. Methods: Sixty-one healthy subjects aged 19 to 47 y were randomized into one of four groups: placebo, 0.05 mg/kg sublingual melatonin, 0.15 mg/kg sublingual melatonin or 0.25 mg/kg sublingual melatonin. We determine the pressure pain threshold (PPT) and the pressure pain tolerance (PPTo). Quantitative sensory testing (QST) was used to measure the heat pain threshold (HPT) and the heat pain tolerance (HPTo). Sedation was assessed with a visual analogue scale and bispectral analysis. Results: Serum plasma melatonin levels were directly proportional to the melatonin doses given to each subject. We observed a significant effect associated with dose group. Post hoc analysis indicated significant differences between the placebo vs. the intermediate (0.15 mg/kg) and the highest (0.25 mg/kg) melatonin doses for all pain threshold and sedation level tests. A linear regression model indicated a significant association between the serum melatonin concentrations and changes in pain threshold and pain tolerance (R2 = 0.492 for HPT, R2 = 0.538 for PPT, R2 = 0.558 for HPTo and R2 = 0.584 for PPTo). Conclusions: The present data indicate that sublingual melatonin exerts well-defined dose-dependent antinociceptive activity. There is a correlation between the plasma melatonin drug concentration and acute changes in the pain threshold. These results provide additional support for the investigation of melatonin as an analgesic agent. Brazilian Clinical Trials Registry (ReBec): (U1111-1123-5109). IRB: Research Ethics Committee at the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre.
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