Milnacipran is a non-tricyclic antidepressant drug which selectively inhibits serotonin and noradrenaline re-uptake and is recommended in the treatment of various chronic pain syndromes. Many studies have shown that compounds known to block monoamine uptake potentiate the antinociceptive effects of opioids. This study investigates the effect of milnacipran alone or in combination with an opiodergic drug, i.e. tramadol, on hyperalgesia in a rat model of neuropathic pain. The contribution of serotonergic, noradrenergic and opioidergic systems in the potential antihyperalgesic effect of milnacipran has also been examined. Chronic constriction injury was induced in rats by loose ligation of the sciatic nerve and neuropathic pain was evaluated 14 days after surgery. Intraperitoneal acute injection of milnacipran 60 mg/kg produced an antihyperalgesic effect which was prevented by pretreating systemically with alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine, an inhibitor of noradrenaline synthesis; parachlorophenylalanine, an inhibitor of serotonin synthesis; and naloxone, an antagonist of opioidergic receptors. Co-administration of milnacipran 40 mg/kg with tramadol (20 and 40 mg/kg) potentiated the antihyperalgesic effect of tramadol. Milnacipran has an antihyperalgesic effect mediated by serotonergic, noradrenergic and opioidergic systems and the combined use of tramadol with milnacipran potentiates the effect of tramadol in the management of neuropathic pain. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.