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Liposomal bupivacaine for post-operative pain


Anaesthetics, Pain Relief and ITU

April 2020

Liposomal bupivacaine is in late-stage clinical development for the treatment of postoperative pain in adults. Post-operative pain is a common occurrence for those patients who have surgery. Controlling post-operative pain is important for ensuring a good patient experience, optimising post-operative outcomes and enhancing recovering, and the prevention of chronic postsurgical pain in the longer term.

Bupivacaine is an anaesthetic (numbing agent) that blocks nerve impulses in the body. It is used as a local analgesic to alleviate pain in a particular location of the body. Ordinarily, the numbing effects of bupivacaine are short lived, as the molecules are small and rapidly redistributed from the site of injection. However, when combined with larger carriers such as liposomes, which remain at the injection site for longer, the local anaesthetic is released gradually over several days. This has a number of benefits – postsurgical pain is kept to a minimum, and opioid consumption is reduced which further promotes earlier patient mobilisation. Liposomal bupivacaine is given as a prolonged-release dispersion for injection and if licensed, will offer a longer-acting local anaesthetic that can be administered as a single dose for patients with post-operative pain.

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