Rabbit model for the evaluation of epidurally administered local anaesthetic agents

P. J. Hughes, M. M. Doherty, W. N. Charman

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A rabbit model is described for the evaluation of epidurally administered local anaesthetic agents. The technique involves a single injection via the readily identified lumbosacral space in conscious rabbits, with the epidural space being identified by a modified loss of resistance technique. The endpoints used to assess pharmacodynamic responses of the rabbit model were (1) sensory loss, (2) loss of weight bearing ability, and (3) flaccid pareses. The model was further characterised by investigation of endpoint responses to changes in injection volume (0.1-0.25 ml/kg) and concentration of administered lignocaine solutions (0.5 to 2%). From these studies, a volume of 0.2 ml/kg was chosen as a standard dose and a subsequent comparison between different agents undertaken. The rank order for the onset of action, duration of effect and the observed pharmacokinetic profiles after epidural administration of 2% lignocaine, 2% lignocaine with adrenaline (1:200,000) or 0.5% bupivacaine solutions are broadly consistent with human clinical data. These data indicate that the rabbit is a simple (albeit limited) model for the screening evaluation of epidurally administered local anaesthetic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-303
Number of pages6
JournalAnaesthesia and Intensive Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidural anaesthetics
  • Lignocaine
  • Local anaesthetics
  • Rabbit

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