Effect of intrathecal tizanidine on antinociception and blood pressure in the rat

Robert J. McCarthy*, Jeffrey S. Kroin, Timothy R. Lubenow, Richard D. Penn, Anthony D. Ivankovich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Experiments were performed in rats to determine if the α2-adrenergic agonist tizanidine has an antinociceptive effect when injected intrathecally, and whether the analgesia is accompanied by changes in blood pressure. Rats were chronically implanted with catheters in the lumbar subarachnoid space. Antinociception was evaluated in conscious rats with the tail-flick test. Increasing tizanidine doses produced increases in analgesic efficacy, with 25 μg producing a significant long-lasting antinociception. This tail-flick analgesia was very similar to that produced by clonidine (25 μg) and morphine (8 μg) in peak effect and duration. Doses as high as 250 μg produced only a transient hind limb motor dysfunction in 43% of the animals. Daily injections of 25 μg tizanidine over 5 days produced a decrease in antinociception, with the peak effect at day 5 at 59% of that at day 1. Blood pressure, in rats lightly anesthetized with halothane, was not affected by tizanidine injections up to 250 μg. Tizanidine appears to be a promising non-opiate analgesic for intrathecal usage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-338
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1990


  • Pain
  • Spinal cord
  • Tizanidine
  • α-Adrenergic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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