Inflammation Research

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 251–258

Flupirtine, a re-discovered drug, revisited


DOI: 10.1007/s00011-013-0592-5

Cite this article as:
Szelenyi, I. Inflamm. Res. (2013) 62: 251. doi:10.1007/s00011-013-0592-5


Flupirtine was developed long before KV7 (KCNQ) channels were known. However, it was clear from the beginning that flupirtine is neither an opioid nor a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic. Its unique muscle relaxing activity was discovered by serendipity. In the meantime, broad and intensive research has resulted in a partial clarification of its mode of action. Flupirtine is the first therapeutically used KV7 channel activator with additional GABAAergic mechanisms and thus the first representative of a novel class of analgesics. The presently accepted main mode of its action, potassium KV7 (KCNQ) channel activation, opens a series of further therapeutic possibilities. One of them has now been realized: its back-up compound, the bioisostere retigabine, has been approved for the treatment of epilepsy.


AnalgesiaSkeletal muscle relaxationPotassium channelsGABARetigabine

Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Doerenkamp-Chair for Innovations in Animal and Consumer ProtectionFriedrich-Alexander UniversityErlangenGermany