A classification of peripheral analgesics based upon their mode of action
This chapter aims to discuss current ideas about the mechanism of action of peripheral analgesics, and to provide a rational basis both for their therapeutic use and for the development of new drugs. The classical explanation for the mechanism of inflammatory hyperalgesia is that it results from excitatory actions of endogenous mediators that are released by inflamed or damaged tissues. This concept implies that there are many mediators present, in what might be called a ‘mediator soup’. If the concentration of one or several agonists in this ‘mediator soup’ is increased, as a result of further stimulation, activation of the nociceptor is achieved. The concept also implies that all types of nociceptive mediator are qualitatively similar — that is, that they are all equally capable of activating the nociceptors.
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