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Drug Alcohol Depend. 1985 Feb;14(3-4):313-23.



Published clinical studies and extensive experience has shown that pentazocine, the first of the practical agonist/antagonist analgesics, is a potent analgesic with wide application in clinical medicine. It has been shown to have a spectrum of pharmacological activity which has qualitative differences from pure opiate agonists and these have important implications in clinical medicine. Pentazocine can provide analgesia as great as the opiates including morphine and meperidine, but does not have the same effect on mood. It is, therefore, less effective than the opiates in those situations where an anxiolytic effect is desired. Conversely, it produces less CNS depression in particular with regard to respiratory depression and nausea and vomiting. It also does not have the same potential for producing hypotension. The parenteral administration of pentazocine produces rapid strong analgesia which is of less duration than with morphine or meperidine. The oral administration of pentazocine is less predictable with regard to response but in appropriate patients it is capable of providing a similar degree of analgesia to that achieved with parenteral pentazocine. The dependence liability of pentazocine is substantially less than that with the opiates, and where abuse of parenteral pentazocine alone has taken place, it has usually been in medical and paramedical personnel seeking a support for inadequate personalities. Though physical and psychic dependence to parenteral pentazocine is undoubtedly possible, its incidence is extremely low with regard to the extent of the therapeutic use of pentazocine.

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