Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Effect of buspirone on thermal sensory and pain thresholds in human volunteers

Goran Pavlaković*, Julija Tigges and Thomas A Crozier

Author Affiliations

Department of Anesthesiology, Emergency and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Göttingen Medical School, Göttingen, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Clinical Pharmacology 2009, 9:12  doi:10.1186/1472-6904-9-12

Published: 29 May 2009



Buspirone is a partial 5-HT1A receptor agonist. Animal studies have shown that modulation of serotoninergic transmission at the 5-HT1A receptor can induce analgesia in acute pain models. However, no studies have been published so far on the effects of serotonin receptor agonists on pain perception in humans.


The effects of buspirone (30 mg p.o.) on thermal sensory and pain thresholds were investigated in twelve female volunteers (26 ± 2 yrs) in a prospective, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled study with morphine (10 mg i.v.) as positive control.


Morphine significantly increased the heat pain detection threshold (ΔT: placebo 1.0°C and 1.3°C, p < 0.05) at 60 minutes. Buspirone caused mild sedation in six participants at 60 minutes, but was without effect on any of the measured parameters.


Buspirone in the maximal recommended dose was without significant effect on thermal pain. However, as it is only a partial agonist at the 5-HT1A receptor and also acts on other receptor types, the negative results of the present study do not rule out a possible analgesic effect of more specific 5-HT1A receptor agonists.