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Adjunctive analgesics

02 October 2014
15 mins read
Volume 5 · Issue 8


Adjunctive analgesics are drugs that have primary therapeutic indications other than providing analgesia. They are commonly co-administered with traditional analgesics in order to provide ‘multimodal analgesia’ when traditional analgesics alone may not provide adequate analgesia. This article will review the current adjunctive analgesics used in veterinary patients including their pharmacological properties, route of administration and some species specific applications.

Most veterinary patients experiencing acute pain may be managed with opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and loco-regional anaesthetic techniques. These so called ‘traditional analgesics’ share one similarity, which is the management of pain being their primary indication (Lamont, 2008).

Adjunctive analgesics (also called analgesic adjuvants), are drugs that come from different pharmacological classes and have primary indications other than pain (Shaffran, 2005; Lamont and Mathews, 2007). They have the potential to improve comfort without adverse effects such as sedation, dysphoria, gastrointestinal tract dysfunction, respiratory depression, or renal toxicity associated with traditional analgesics (Wagner et al, 2002; Lamont, 2008; Wagner et al, 2010). They may also facilitate a reduction in the dose of other, concurrently administered, analgesics which may also reduce the incidence of adverse effects.

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