Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is one of the most popular and widely used drugs for the treatment of pain and fever. It occupies a unique position among analgesic drugs. Unlike NSAIDs it is almost unanimously considered to have no antinflammatory activity and does not produce gastrointestinal damage or untoward cardiorenal effects. Unlike opiates it is almost ineffective in intense pain and has no depressant effect on respiration. Although paracetamol has been used clinically for more than a century, its mode of action has been a mystery until about one year ago, when two independent groups (Zygmunt and colleagues and Bertolini and colleagues) produced experimental data unequivocally demonstrating that the analgesic effect of paracetamol is due to the indirect activation of cannabinoid CBI receptors. In brain and spinal cord, paracetamol, following deacetylation to its primary amine (p-aminophenol), is conjugated with arachidonic acid to form N-arachidonoylphenolamine, a compound already known (AM404) as an endogenous cannabinoid. The involved enzyme is fatty acid amide hydrolase. N-arachidonoylphenolamine is an agonist at TRPV1 receptors and an inhibitor of cellular anandamide uptake, which leads to increased levels of endogenous cannabinoids; moreover, it inhibits cyclooxygenases in the brain, albeit at concentrations that are probably not attainable with analgesic doses of paracetamol. CB1 receptor antagonist, at a dose level that completely prevents the analgesic activity of a selective CB1 receptor agonist, completely prevents the analgesic activity of paracetamol. Thus, paracetamol acts as a pro-drug, the active one being a cannabinoid. These findings finally explain the mechanism of action of paracetamol and the peculiarity of its effects, including the behavioral ones. Curiously, just when the first CB I agonists are being introduced for pain treatment, it comes out that an indirect cannabinomimetic had been extensively used (and sometimes overused) for more than a century

Paracetamol: new vistas of an old drug / Bertolini, Alfio; Ferrari, Anna; Ottani, Alessandra; Guerzoni, Simona; Tacchi, Raffaella; S., Leone. - In: CNS DRUG REVIEWS. - ISSN 1080-563X. - STAMPA. - 12 (3-4):(2006), pp. 250-275. [10.1111/j.1527-3458.2006.00250.x]

Paracetamol: new vistas of an old drug

BERTOLINI, Alfio;FERRARI, Anna;OTTANI, Alessandra;GUERZONI, Simona;TACCHI, Raffaella;
2006

Abstract

Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is one of the most popular and widely used drugs for the treatment of pain and fever. It occupies a unique position among analgesic drugs. Unlike NSAIDs it is almost unanimously considered to have no antinflammatory activity and does not produce gastrointestinal damage or untoward cardiorenal effects. Unlike opiates it is almost ineffective in intense pain and has no depressant effect on respiration. Although paracetamol has been used clinically for more than a century, its mode of action has been a mystery until about one year ago, when two independent groups (Zygmunt and colleagues and Bertolini and colleagues) produced experimental data unequivocally demonstrating that the analgesic effect of paracetamol is due to the indirect activation of cannabinoid CBI receptors. In brain and spinal cord, paracetamol, following deacetylation to its primary amine (p-aminophenol), is conjugated with arachidonic acid to form N-arachidonoylphenolamine, a compound already known (AM404) as an endogenous cannabinoid. The involved enzyme is fatty acid amide hydrolase. N-arachidonoylphenolamine is an agonist at TRPV1 receptors and an inhibitor of cellular anandamide uptake, which leads to increased levels of endogenous cannabinoids; moreover, it inhibits cyclooxygenases in the brain, albeit at concentrations that are probably not attainable with analgesic doses of paracetamol. CB1 receptor antagonist, at a dose level that completely prevents the analgesic activity of a selective CB1 receptor agonist, completely prevents the analgesic activity of paracetamol. Thus, paracetamol acts as a pro-drug, the active one being a cannabinoid. These findings finally explain the mechanism of action of paracetamol and the peculiarity of its effects, including the behavioral ones. Curiously, just when the first CB I agonists are being introduced for pain treatment, it comes out that an indirect cannabinomimetic had been extensively used (and sometimes overused) for more than a century
12 (3-4)
250
275
Paracetamol: new vistas of an old drug / Bertolini, Alfio; Ferrari, Anna; Ottani, Alessandra; Guerzoni, Simona; Tacchi, Raffaella; S., Leone. - In: CNS DRUG REVIEWS. - ISSN 1080-563X. - STAMPA. - 12 (3-4):(2006), pp. 250-275. [10.1111/j.1527-3458.2006.00250.x]
Bertolini, Alfio; Ferrari, Anna; Ottani, Alessandra; Guerzoni, Simona; Tacchi, Raffaella; S., Leone
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11380/611714
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