Morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl are clinically prescribed drugs for the management of severe pain. We investigated whether these opioids possess different efficacy profiles on several types of pain in mouse pain models. When the three opioids were tested in the femur bone cancer model, all of them significantly reversed guarding behavior, whereas the effects on limb-use abnormality and allodynia-like behavior differed among the opioids. Particularly, although oxycodone (5 – 20 mg/kg) and fentanyl (0.2 mg/kg) significantly reversed limb-use abnormality, not even a high dose of morphine (50 mg/kg) could reverse it. When the effects of these opioids were examined in a sciatic nerve ligation (SNL) model of neuropathic pain, oxycodone was the most effective, producing an antinociceptive effect without affecting the withdrawal threshold of sham-treated animals. When the effects of these opioids were examined with the tail-flick test using naive animals, oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl exhibited antinociceptive effects on thermal nociception. These results show that the three opioids exhibit different efficacy outcomes in multiple pain models and that the efficacy profile of oxycodone does not overlap those of morphine and fentanyl.
The Japanese Pharmacological Society 2009