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J Psychopharmacol. 2001 Jun;15(2):93-5.

Effect of naloxone therapy on depersonalization: a pilot study.

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  • 1Bekhterev Psychoneurological Research Institute, St-Petersburg, Russia.


To test the hypothesis of the role for the opioid system in the pathogenesis of depersonalization, the effect of naloxone (an opioid receptor blocker) on the symptoms and corticosteroids secretion was studied in patients with depersonalization syndrome. Fourteen depersonalization patients were treated with naloxone: 11 patients received single doses (1.6 or 4 mg i.v.) and three others received multiple infusions, with the maximal dosage being 10 mg, and the effect of naloxone on symptom severity was determined. In eight patients, the cortisol, cortisone and corticosterone content in the blood plasma was determined prior to and after the 4 mg naloxone infusion. A reversed-phase microcolumn high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection was applied for assessment of glucocorticoids. In three of 14 patients, depersonalization symptoms disappeared entirely and seven patients showed a marked improvement. The therapeutic effect of naloxone provides evidence for the role of the endogenous opioid system in the pathogenesis of depersonalization.

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