The discriminative stimulus effects of naloxone and naltrexone in morphine-treated rhesus monkeys: Comparison of oral and subcutaneous administration

Cheryl A. Gauthier, Charles P. France

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rationale: Opioid antagonists are used to reverse the toxic effects of opioids, to diagnose opioid dependence and to treat opioid and other (alcohol) drug abuse. Objectives: This study compared the discriminative stimulus effects of two opioid antagonists (naloxone and naltrexone), after parenteral and oral administration. Methods: The discriminative stimulus effects of naloxone and naltrexone were evaluated every 15 min over a 2-h period in four morphine-treated (3.2 mg/kg per day) rhesus monkeys discriminating between subcutaneous (SC) injections of naltrexone (0.01 or 0.032 mg/kg) and saline, while responding under a fixed-ratio 5 schedule of stimulus shock termination. Results: Within 15 min of SC administration, naloxone and naltrexone produced greater than 90% drug-appropriate responding at doses of 0.032 and 0.01 mg/kg, respectively. The largest dose of naloxone (3.2 mg/kg) administered orally produced 82% drug-appropriate responding within 90 min; the same dose of naltrexone administered orally produced greater than 90% drug-appropriate responding within 30 min. Although both drugs were at least 100-fold more potent when administered SC, as compared to orally, there was little difference (3-fold) between the potency of naloxone and naltrexone by either route. Conclusions: These results fail to support the view that naloxone has reduced bioavailability after oral administration, as compared to naltrexone, or that its pharmacokinetic profile is particularly advantageous for some therapeutic settings (e.g. Talwin Nx).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalPsychopharmacology
Volume144
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 17 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Drug discrimination
  • Naloxone
  • Naltrexone
  • Oral
  • Rhesus monkey
  • SC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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