Send to

Choose Destination
Pharmacol Toxicol. 1994 Jul;75(1):23-7.

Tricyclic antidepressants inhibit opioid receptor binding in human brain and hepatic morphine glucuronidation.

Author information

Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.


The opioid receptor binding in the human thalamic area was studied with U-69593 and naloxone as ligands for the kappa and mu receptors, respectively. The binding was inhibited by various tricyclic antidepressants including amitriptyline, nortriptyline, clomipramine and fluoxetine. The antidepressants tested had a slight selectivity for the kappa receptor type. The IC50-values for all tricyclic antidepressants tested were in the 10(-6) M concentration range. Morphine and tricyclic antidepressants are substrates of a liver microsomal uridine diphosphate glucuronyl transferase (UDPGT). The interaction of the tricyclic antidepressants with morphine glucuronidation was investigated in human liver microsomal preparations. All drugs inhibited the morphine UDPGT. In Dixon plots inhibition of the formation of morphine-3-glucuronide and morphine-6-glucuronide was non-competitive for nortriptyline, and competitive or mixed for amitriptyline and clomipramine. Lubrol PX activated the morphine-UDPGT four to five times. The degree of activation of the enzyme(s) was unaltered in presence of the inhibiting drugs. The inhibition was also observed at a tricyclic antidepressant/morphine concentration ratio close to that achieved in plasma from patients treated with these drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center