(HealthDay News) – Experimental pain studies on humans to evaluate the efficacy of analgesics show good correlation with efficacy in the clinic, suggesting that human models could be an effective tool in developing new analgesics, according to a review published online Oct. 19 in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Bruno Georg Oertel, PhD, and Jörn Lötsch, MD, from Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany, reviewed and analyzed 126 studies involving 35 clinical pain settings that tested drugs for their analgesic efficacy.

The researchers note that, while the perception is that human models are no better than animal models in predicting pain in the clinical setting, results from human models show considerable agreement with clinical efficacy of analgesics. Human experimental models could be developed into truly predictive tools, which could reduce costs associated with developing analgesics, assuming expert knowledge about pharmacology and pain physiology. Experimental studies may be able to reduce the number of clinical phase II studies, they suggest.

“The presently identified agreements and non-agreements between analgesic effects on experimental and on clinical pain may serve as a solid basis to identify complex sets of human pain models that bridge basic science with clinical pain research,” Oertel and Lötsch conclude.

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