Buprenorphine and methoclocinnamox: Agonist and antagonist effects on respiratory function in rhesus monkeys

Shiroh Kishioka, Carol A. Paronis, John W. Lewis, James H. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Buprenorphine and methoclocinnamox are partial μ-opioid receptor agonists with potential use in the treatment of opioid abuse. The ability of these drugs to suppress respiration as well as their ability to antagonize the respiratory suppressant effects of morphine and heroin were tested in rhesus monkeys. Frequency (f), minute volume (V(e)) tidal volume (V(t)) in monkeys breathing air or 5% CO2 in air were recorded using a pressure-displacement plethysmograph. Buprenorphine (0.001-10 mg/kg) produced a dose-dependent decrease in respiratory parameters that plateaued at a dose of 1 mg/kg in both air and 5% CO2. Methoclocinnamox (0.032-1 mg/kg) also produced dose-dependent respiratory depression that plateaued at a dose of 0.3 mg/kg in air, and was directly related to dose in 5% CO2. Respiratory suppression produced by buprenorphine 1 and 10 mg/kg lasted for 3 and 7 days, respectively, whereas the suppression produced by the largest dose of methoclocinnamox (1 mg/kg, the solubility limit) lasted less than 24 h. Buprenorphine and methoclocinnamox antagonized morphine- and heroin-induced respiratory depression, and this antagonist effect was observed concomitantly with, as well as following, the μ-opioid receptor agonist effects of buprenorphine and methoclocinnamox. The μ-opioid receptor antagonist effects of buprenorphine (10 mg/kg) and methoclocinnamox (1 mg/kg) lasted for 2 weeks. These results suggest that buprenorphine and methoclocinnamox have a wide margin of safety in clinical use and that these two compounds have a prolonged, insurmountable, μ-opioid receptor antagonist effect after the disappearance of their agonist effects. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-297
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 17 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • (Rhesus monkey)
  • Buprenorphine
  • Methoclocinnamox
  • Opioid receptor agonist
  • Opioid receptor antagonist
  • Respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Buprenorphine and methoclocinnamox: Agonist and antagonist effects on respiratory function in rhesus monkeys'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this