The combination of venlafaxine and tramadol was compared with the single use of these agents to investigate the antinociceptive effect on paw withdrawal latency (PWL) to paw pressure in rats with neuropathic pain. Rats were divided into 4 groups: group 1 received saline (0.2 ml i.p.); group 2 received venlafaxine (22 mg/kg i.p.); group 3 received tramadol (20 mg/kg i.p.); and group 4 received venlafaxine + tramadol. No statistically significant changes were observed in the saline and venlafaxine groups with respect to PWL in the lesioned paw. However, tramadol produced a significant antinociceptive effect on the lesioned paw at 30 min compared with the saline and venlafaxine groups. A more potent antinociceptive effect was observed in the tramadol + venlafaxine group, beginning at 60 min and lasting for 1 h. The combination of venlafaxine + tramadol was more effective in increasing the pain threshold in this animal model of neuropathic pain than either of these drugs administered alone. (C) 2003 Prous Science. All rights reserved.