Monoaminergic drugs and directly observable signs of LAAM withdrawal in rhesus monkeys

S. L. Sell, L. R. McMahon, W. Koek, Charles P. France

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10 Scopus citations


Monoaminergic ligands modified a naltrexone discriminative stimulus in rhesus monkeys dependent on 2 mg/kg per day of the μ opioid L-α-acetylmethadol (LAAM). This study examined a role for monoamines in the directly observable and physiologic manifestations of LAAM withdrawal induced by naltrexone in the same monkeys. The effects of saline, clonidine (0.032 mg/kg), haloperidol (0.032 mg/kg), cocaine (1.0 mg/kg), amphetamine (1.0 mg/kg) and imipramine (10.0 mg/kg) were examined in LAAM-dependent monkeys that subsequently received saline or naltrexone (0.0001-1.0 mg/kg). Naltrexone dose-dependently increased respiration, abdominal rigidity and salivation. Clonidine attenuated each of these withdrawal signs, whereas haloperidol increased some (i.e. respiration) and decreased others (i.e. salivation). When administered alone, cocaine and amphetamine increased respiration and also increased the respiratory stimulant effects of naltrexone; cocaine and amphetamine did not attenuate any measure of withdrawal. With the exception of a decrease in naltrexone-induced salivation, imipramine was without effect. These results are strikingly different from results in these same LAAM-dependent monkeys showing that cocaine and amphetamine, but not clonidine, markedly attenuated a naltrexone discriminative stimulus. That monoammergic ligands differentially alter the directly observable and discriminative stimulus effects of naltrexone in LAAM-dependent monkeys supports the view that monoamines differentially mediate the physical manifestations (norepinephrine) and subjective experience (dopamine) of opioid withdrawal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioural pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Dependence
  • LAAM
  • Monoamines
  • Naltrexone
  • Opioid
  • Rhesus monkey
  • Withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology


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