Groups of mice were infected with tachyzoites of the RH strain of Toxoplasma gondii, treated with the opioid analgesic buprenorphine, sodium sulfadiazine, a combination of buprenorphine and sodium sulfadiazine, or nothing in the drinking water, on days −1 to 12 postinfection. Mice in the T. gondii-infected buprenorphine-treated group did not live significantly longer (P > 0.05) than mice given T. gondii and not treated with buprenorphine. Clinical observations of mice indicated that buprenorphine treatment reduced distress and pain in mice with acute toxoplasmosis. Mice treated with sodium sulfadiazine alone or sodium sulfadiazine combined with buprenorphine survived the 28-day study. Mice treated with buprenorphine and not infected with T. gondii also survived the 28 days. This study demonstrates that buprenorphine does not adversely interfere with acute T. gondii infection and indicates that buprenorphine can be given to mice to alleviate pain and distress associated with a T. gondii infection, and not adversely influence the results of toxoplasmosis studies. Analgesic (buprenorphine) treatment should now be the standard of care for mice in acute toxoplasmosis studies.

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