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Br J Pharmacol. 1983 Apr;78(4):607-15.

Opioid agonist and antagonist behavioural effects of buprenorphine.


1 The agonist and antagonist effects of a range of buprenorphine doses (0.08-20 mg/kg) were studied on the responding of pigeons under a multiple fixed-ratio, fixed-interval schedule of grain presentation. Various doses (0.02-10 mg/kg) of buprenorphine were also tested in pigeons trained to discriminate between injections of 0.05 mg/kg of fentanyl and injections of distilled water. 2 Buprenorphine, over a broad dose range (0.08-5 mg/kg), increased the rates of responding in the fixed-interval component of the multiple schedule and disrupted patterning of responding within the fixed-interval, without affecting fixed-ratio responding even at a dose of 40 mg/kg. The effects of some of the high doses on fixed-interval responding were still evident one and two days after buprenorphine injection. 3 Doses of buprenorphine which produced increases in fixed-interval responding were also effective as antagonists of the behavioural depression produced by 40 mg/kg of morphine, and were discriminated as fentanyl-like by pigeons trained to discriminate between injections of fentanyl and injections of water. 4 These results show that buprenorphine produces marked agonist and antagonist effects over an extremely broad dose range without producing behavioural depressant effects.

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