Acute physical dependence in man: Effects of naloxone after brief morphine exposure

W. K. Bickel, M. L. Stitzer, I. A. Liebson, G. E. Bigelow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


This study assessed the effects of i.m. naloxone (10 mg) 6 hr after acute i.m. injections of morphine (0, 1, 3, 5.6, 10 and 17 mg). Naloxone reversed residual morphine-produced respiratory depression, miosis and subjective reports of drug 'high.' In addition, naloxone precipitated signs and symptoms characteristic of opioid withdrawal. Subjective report measures of 'bad' drug effects and specific opioid withdrawal symptoms increased as a function of morphine pretreatment dose, as did observerrated signs of withdrawal. Yawning was the most prominent observed sign, whereas yawning and irritability were the most consistently reported subjective symptoms. Peak withdrawal effects were seen within 15 min postnaloxone. The results of this study confirm previous reports of acute physical dependence in man and extend those findings by demonstrating a morphine dose-response function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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