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Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1990 Apr;28(4):147-52.

The treatment of heroin addicts with dextromethorphan: a double-blind comparison of dextromethorphan with chlorpromazine.

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Istanbul Medical Faculty, Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, Turkey.


According to the hypothesis that the development of physical dependence on and tolerance to opiates depends on the inhibition by opiates of L-asparaginase and L-glutaminase activities in the brain, and the blockade by opiates of the aspartatergic/glutamatergic receptors especially NMDA, four female and fourty-four male heroin addicts were included in a double-blind clinical trial. Four mg chlorpromazine (CPZ) was administered every hour and 10 mg diazepam (DIA) every 6 hours to a group consisting of two female and nineteen male inpatients. The remaining subjects received 15 mg non-opioid antitussive dextromethorphan (DM) instead of CPZ. The withdrawn addicts were controlled twice a day and yawning, lacrimation, rhinorrhoea, perspiration, goose flesh, muscle tremor, dilated pupils, anorexia, joint and muscle aches, restlessness, insomnia, emesis, diarrhea, craving and rejection of smoking as abstinence syndrome signs were observed and rated on a scale of 1, 2 and 3 points according to their intensity. All signs, except perspiration and emesis, were significantly less intense in the group given DM + DIA than CPZ + DIA. The other plus points included the immediate stop of craving and the early onset of smoking in DM + DIA group. The results are considered to be supporting evidence for the hypothesis emphasizing the blockade of NMDA receptors by opiates in opiate addiction. Furthermore, the decrease caused by non-opioid NMDA antagonists in the responsiveness of NMDA receptors appears very promising for the treatment of opiate addicts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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