Inflammation Research

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 251–258 | Cite as

Flupirtine, a re-discovered drug, revisited

  • Istvan SzelenyiEmail author


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.


Analgesia Skeletal muscle relaxation Potassium channels GABA Retigabine 



I am grateful to Dr Berthold Renner for valuable and constructive comments and helpful discussions.


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© 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

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