INTRODUCTION: The neuroinflammatory response plays a key role in several pain syndromes. Intravenous (iv) lidocaine is beneficial in acute and chronic pain. This review delineates the current literature concerning in vitro mechanisms and in vivo efficacy of iv lidocaine on the neuroinflammatory response in acute and chronic pain.
DATABASES AND DATA TREATMENT: We searched PUBMED and the Cochrane Library for in vitro and in vivo studies from July 1975 to August 2014. In vitro articles providing an explanation for the mechanisms of action of lidocaine on the neuroinflammatory response in pain were included. Animal or clinical studies were included concerning iv lidocaine for acute or chronic pain or during inflammation.
RESULTS: Eighty-eight articles regarding iv lidocaine were included: 36 in vitro studies evaluating the effect on ion channels and receptors; 31 animal studies concerning acute and chronic pain and inflammatory models; 21 clinical studies concerning acute and chronic pain. Low-dose lidocaine inhibits in vitro voltage-gated sodium channels, the glycinergic system, some potassium channels and Gαq-coupled protein receptors. Higher lidocaine concentrations block potassium and calcium channels, and NMDA receptors. Animal studies demonstrate lidocaine to have analgesic effects in acute and neuropathic pain syndromes and anti-inflammatory effects early in the inflammatory response. Clinical studies demonstrate lidocaine to have advantage in abdominal surgery and in some neuropathic pain syndromes.
CONCLUSIONS: Intravenous lidocaine has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antihyperalgesic properties mediated by an inhibitory effect on ion channels and receptors. It attenuates the neuroinflammatory response in perioperative pain and chronic neuropathic pain.