To investigate a possible antinociceptive role of serotonin receptor subtype 3 (5-HT(3)), we evaluated the effects of a coadministration of ondansetron, a 5-HT(3) selective antagonist, and tramadol, a central analgesic dependent on enhanced serotonergic transmission. Fifty-nine patients undergoing ear, throat, and nose surgery, using tramadol for 24-h postoperative patient-controlled analgesia (bolus = 30 mg; lockout interval = 10 min) were randomly allocated either to a group receiving ondansetron continuous infusion (1 mg. mL(-1). h(-1)) for postoperative nausea and vomiting (Group O) or to a control group receiving saline (Group T). Pain and vomiting scores and tramadol consumption were evaluated at 4, 8, 12, and 24 h. Pain scores were never >4, according to a 0-10 numerical rating scale, in both groups. Group O required significantly larger doses of tramadol at 4 h (213 versus 71 mg, P < 0.001), 8 h (285 versus 128 mg, P < 0.002), and 12 h (406 versus 190 mg, P < 0.002). Vomiting scores were higher in Group O at 4 h (P < 0.05) and 8 h (P = 0.05). We conclude that ondansetron reduced the overall analgesic effect of tramadol, probably blocking spinal 5-HT(3) receptors. IMPLICATIONS: Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter of the descending pathways that down-modulate spinal nociception. In postoperative pain, ondansetron, a selective 5-HT(3) receptor antagonist, increased the analgesic dose of tramadol. We suggest that, when antagonized for antiemetic purpose, 5-HT(3) receptors foster nociception, because of their site-dependent action.
Ondansetron inhibits the analgesic effects of tramadol: a possible 5-HT(3) spinal receptor involvement in acute pain in humans / Arcioni, R.; della Rocca, M.; Romanò, S.; Romano, Rocco; Pietropaoli, P.; Gasparetto, A.. - In: ANESTHESIA AND ANALGESIA. - ISSN 0003-2999. - 94:6(2002), pp. 1553-1557.