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Nonmedical use and abuse of prescription opioids is an increasing public health problem. Intravenous (IV) administration of opioid analgesics intended for oral use is not uncommon; yet, little is known about the relative abuse potential of these drugs when administered intravenously to recreational opioid abusers without physical dependence.
This inpatient study employed a double-blind, randomized, within-subject, placebo-controlled design to examine the relative abuse potential of IV doses of oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. Nine healthy adult participants reporting recreational opioid use and histories of IV opioid use completed 11 experimental sessions, including one active-dose practice session. IV doses were infused over 5 min and included three identical doses of each opioid (5, 10, and 20 mg/10 ml) and saline placebo. Physiological, subjective, and performance effects were collected before and for 6 h after drug administration.
All three opioids produced prototypical mu agonist effects (e.g., miosis; increased ratings of liking) that were generally dose-related. Pharmacodynamic effects were observed within 5 min of IV administration. Physiological effects were more prolonged than subjective effects for all three drugs. While the magnitude of effects was generally comparable across drugs and qualitatively similar, valid potency assays indicated the following potency relationship: oxycodone > morphine > hydrocodone.
There were modest potency differences between oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, but their overall profile of effects was similar, indicating significant abuse potential when administered intravenously.
Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 140 Medical Behavioral Science Building, Lexington, KY, 40536-0086, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the following journal.
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A synthetic opioid that is used as the hydrochloride. It is an opioid analgesic that is primarily a mu-opioid agonist. It has actions and uses similar to those of MORPHINE. It also has a depressant action on the cough center and may be given to control intractable cough associated with terminal lung cancer. Methadone is also used as part of the treatment of dependence on opioid drugs, although prolonged use of methadone itself may result in dependence. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p1082-3)
An opioid analgesic made from MORPHINE and used mainly as an analgesic. It has a shorter duration of action than morphine.
A class of opioid receptors recognized by its pharmacological profile. Mu opioid receptors bind, in decreasing order of affinity, endorphins, dynorphins, met-enkephalin, and leu-enkephalin. They have also been shown to be molecular receptors for morphine.
Abuse, overuse, or misuse of a substance by its injection into a vein.
A derivative of the opioid alkaloid THEBAINE that is a more potent and longer lasting analgesic than MORPHINE. It appears to act as a partial agonist at mu and kappa opioid receptors and as an antagonist at delta receptors. The lack of delta-agonist activity has been suggested to account for the observation that buprenorphine tolerance may not develop with chronic use.
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