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Proceedings for Pain Management and Humane Endpoints

IACUC Responsibilities: Reviewing Potentially Painful Procedures

Ralph B. Dell, MD
ILAR, NAS

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees are asked by the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and by USDA and PHS regulations to review protocols for the use of animals in research. One of the important times the committee is to review is the potential for pain during the course of the proposed study. If there is pain may occur during the study, the committee must assess the severity and duration of that pain. If it is not known whether pain may occur the committee should ask for a pilot study to adequately assess the potential for pain during the proposed procedure. If pain will occur, are there ways of alleviating the pain. Withholding post operative analgesics requires scientific justification, something more than the unsupported statement that analgesics might interfere with the purpose of the experiment. Finally, if pain is likely to occur then the protocol should describe criteria for early removal from the study.

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