Buprenorphine and naloxone alone and in combination in opioid-dependent humans

Kenzie L. Preston, George E. Bigelow, Ira A. Liebson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Subjective, physiological and behavioral effects of subcutaneously administered hydromorphone (6 mg), naloxone (0.2 mg), buprenorphine (0.2 and 0.3 mg), and two buprenorphine-naloxone combinations (buprenorphine 0.2 mg plus naloxone 0.2 mg and buprenorphine 0.3 mg plus naloxone 0.2 mg) were assessed under double-blind conditions in six opioid-dependent volunteers. Physiologic measures and subject- and observer-rated behavioral responses were measured before dosing and for 120 min after drug administration. Hydromorphone decreased pupil diameter and respiration, increased blood pressure and increased scores on subjective measures indicating opioid-like effects. Buprenorphine given alone had no significant effect on any variable measured. Naloxone given alone produced opioid abstinence-like effects which were measurable on subject- and observer-rated behavioral measures and physiological measures. Buprenorphine in combination with naloxone somewhat attenuated the naloxone-precipitated withdrawal response. Overall, the naloxone-buprenorphine combinations produced effects which were qualitatively similar to the effects of naloxone alone, suggesting a low potential for abuse of the combination product by opioid-dependent individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-490
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1988


  • Buprenorphine
  • Hydromorphone
  • Methadone
  • Naloxone
  • Precipitated opioid withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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