Antinociceptive and respiratory effects of nalbuphine in rhesus monkeys

L. R. Gerak, E. R. Butelman, J. H. Woods, C. P. France

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Antinociceptive and respiratory effects of nalbuphine and other opioids were studied in rhesus monkeys. In a thermal, tail withdrawal assay, the kappa agonist enadoline and the mu agonists alfentanil and fentanyl produced maximum antinociceptive effects in all subjects and over a wide range of temperatures, whereas nalbuphine produced antinociceptive effects in only some subjects and only when the water temperature was ≤ 50°C. Naltrexone antagonized the antinociceptive effects of nalbuphine, alfentanil and enadoline; however, the magnitude of antagonism was not equal among agonists. In subjects that did not show an antinociceptive response to nalbuphine, nalbuphine (3.2-10.0 mg/kg) antagonized the antinociceptive effects of fentanyl but not enadoline. The irreversible opioid antagonist clocinnamox produced a parallel shift to the right in the nalbuphine dose-effect curve 1 hr after administration and decreased the maximum effect produced by nalbuphine 24 and 48 hr after administration. Nalbuphine had modest respiratory-depressant effects in monkeys breathing air and attenuated hyperventilation produced by 5% CO2. In contrast, alfentanil had marked respiratory-depressant effects in monkeys breathing air or 5% CO2 in air and these effects were antagonized by nalbuphine. Taken together, these results suggest nalbuphine has low efficacy at mu opioid receptors; however, quantitative differences between alfentanil and nalbuphine indicate a second (non-enadoline sensitive) receptor might also be important for the antinociceptive effects of nalbuphine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-999
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume271
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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