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The influence of pre-anaesthetic administration of buprenorphine on the anaesthetic effects of ketamine/medetomidine and pentobarbitone in rats and the consequences of repeated anaesthesia

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Johnny RoughanORCiD, Emeritus Professor Paul FlecknellORCiD


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Rats received pentobarbitone (60, 48 and 36 mg/kg i.p.) or ketamine/medetomidine (75/100, 60/80 and 45/60 mg/μg/kg i.p.) alone, or one hour following buprenorphine (0.5 mg/kg s.c.). Animals were anaesthetized once per week for 6 weeks with one of three anaesthetic doses according to a randomized block design. In the pentobarbitone group, animals which received buprenorphine had longer sleep times (236 ± 22 cf. 204 ± 21 min) and longer durations of surgical anaesthesia (83 ± 14 cf. 27 ± 8 min) (P < 0.01), these effects being potentiated with increasing anaesthetic doses (P < 0.01). A greater degree of respiratory depression was found in animals that received buprenorphine (P < 0.01) although this was judged clinically acceptable in all cases. Unexpectedly high mortality and a high incidence of anaesthetic complications (nine of 16 animals) in the ketamine/medetomidine group made statistical analysis of these data impossible. We conclude that for pentobarbitone, pre-anaesthetic administration of buprenorphine reduces the dose of anaesthetic required to produce surgical anaesthesia, in addition to the presumed benefits of pre-emptive analgesia. In view of the high mortality encountered, we advise caution when considering pre-anaesthetic use of opioids in combination with ketamine/medetomidine in rats.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Roughan JV, Burzaco Ojeda O, Flecknell PA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Laboratory Animals

Year: 1999

Volume: 33

Issue: 3

Pages: 234-242

Print publication date: 01/07/1999

ISSN (print): 0023-6772

ISSN (electronic): 1758-1117

Publisher: Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd.


DOI: 10.1258/002367799780578183

PubMed id: 10780842


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