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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1990 Nov;37(3):511-22.

Discrimination of butorphanol and nalbuphine in opioid-dependent humans.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Francis Scott Key Medical Center, Baltimore, MD 21224.


The purpose of the study was to evaluate the agonist and antagonist stimulus properties of the mixed opioid agonist antagonists butorphanol and nalbuphine in opioid-dependent subjects. Opioid-dependent volunteers (methadone 30 mg/day, PO) were trained in a three-choice drug discrimination procedure to discriminate between the effects of saline (2 ml), hydromorphone (10 mg/70 kg) and naloxone (0.15 mg/70 kg) administered IM. Subjects earned monetary reinforcement for correctly identifying the training drugs by letter code. Other subjective, behavioral and physiological measures were also collected. Hydromorphone and naloxone increased drug-appropriate responses and other characteristic subjective effects measures. Butorphanol and nalbuphine produced increases in naloxone-appropriate discrimination responding and in those subjective effect measures increased by naloxone. Butorphanol produced greater than 80% naloxone-appropriate responding at 1.05 mg/70 kg; nalbuphine produced 100% naloxone-appropriate responding at 2.1 mg/70 kg. Neither butorphanol nor nalbuphine showed opioid agonist-like effects in these subjects maintained at moderate levels of physical dependence. In opioid-dependent subjects, the stimulus effects of butorphanol and nalbuphine are antagonist-like.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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