Our knowledge about how low-dose (analgesic) fentanyl affects autonomic cardiovascular regulation is primarily limited to animal experiments. Notably, it is unknown if low-dose fentanyl influences human autonomic cardiovascular responses during painful stimuli in humans. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that low-dose fentanyl reduces perceived pain and subsequent sympathetic and cardiovascular responses in humans during an experimental noxious stimulus. Twenty-three adults (10 females/13 males; 27 ± 7 yr; 26 ± 3 kg·m-2, means ± SD) completed this randomized, crossover, placebo-controlled trial during two laboratory visits. During each visit, participants completed a cold pressor test (CPT; hand in ~0.4C ice bath for 2 min) before and 5 min after drug/placebo administration (75 μg fentanyl or saline). We compared pain perception (100-mm visual analog scale), muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA; microneurography, 11 paired recordings), and beat-to-beat blood pressure (BP; photoplethysmography) between trials (at both pre- and postdrug/placebo timepoints) using paired, two-tailed t tests. Before drug/placebo administration, perceived pain (P = 0.8287), DMSNA burst frequency (P = 0.7587), and Dmean BP (P = 0.8649) during the CPT were not different between trials. After the drug/placebo administration, fentanyl attenuated perceived pain (36 vs. 66 mm, P < 0.0001), DMSNA burst frequency (9 vs. 17 bursts/min, P = 0.0054), and Dmean BP (7 vs. 13 mmHg, P = 0.0174) during the CPT compared with placebo. Fentanyl-induced reductions in pain perception and Dmean BP were moderately related (r = 0.40, P = 0.0641). These data provide valuable information regarding how low-dose fentanyl reduces autonomic cardiovascular responses during an experimental painful stimulus.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology|
|State||Published - Jan 2022|
- Cerebral tissue oxygenation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)