Injectable PLGA-coated ropivacaine produces a long-lasting analgesic effect on incisional pain and neuropathic pain.

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The management of persistent postsurgical pain and neuropathic pain remains a challenge in the clinic. Local anesthetics have been widely used as simple and effective treatment for these two disorders, but the duration of their analgesic effect is short. We here reported a new poly lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA)-coated ropivacaine that was continuously released in vitro for at least 6 days. Peri-sciatic nerve injection of the PLGA-coated ropivacaine attenuated paw incision-induced mechanical allodynia and heat hyperalgesia during the incisional pain period, and spared nerve injury-induced mechanical and cold allodynia for at least 7 days post-injection. This effect was dose-dependent. Peri-sciatic nerve injection of the PLGA-coated ropivacaine did not produce detectable inflammation, tissue irritation, or damage in the sciatic nerve and surrounding muscles at the injected site, dorsal root ganglion, spinal cord or brain cortex, although the scores for grasping reflex were mildly and transiently reduced in the higher dosage-treated groups. Perspective: Given that PLGA is an FDA-approved medical material, and that ropivacaine is used currently in clinical practice, the injectable PLGA-coated ropivacaine represents a new and highly promising avenue in the management of postsurgical pain and neuropathic pain.

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