The effect of morphine and naloxone on cocaine toxicity

R. W. Derlet, C. C. Tseng, R. S. Tharratt, Timothy E Albertson

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10 Scopus citations


The effect of morphine and naloxone on acute cocaine toxicity was studied. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were pretreated intraperitoneally (ip) with saline, morphine sulfate 25 mg/kg, or naloxone 1.0 mg/kg 15 minutes prior to challenge by cocaine. After pretreatment, each group was challenged with one of three doses of cocaine (35, 50, or 75 mg/kg ip). Each of the nine drug combinations was tested on at least 10 animals. Animals were observed for behavior, seizures, and death. The animals pretreated with saline and challenged with cocaine (35, 50, or 75 mg/kg) had seizure incidences of 0%, 40%, and 100%, respectively, after increasing doses. Pretreatment with morphine resulted in cocaine-induced seizures of 20%, 80% and 100%, respectively (p ≤ 0.05 with cocaine 35 and 50 mg/kg). Time to seizures in these groups did not differ significantly compared to the saline groups. Pretreatment with naloxone resulted in cocaine-induced seizures of 0%, 50%, and 60% (p ≤ 0.05 at the 75 mg/kg dose). The incidence of death was significantly increased by pretreatment with morphine in animals that received cocaine 50 or 75 mg/kg. The time to death was not significantly different compared to saline controls. The death rate in naloxone pretreated animals was not significantly different from the saline groups. In additional studies, high-dose naloxone pretreatment (10 mg/kg) also failed to provide protection from acute cocaine toxicity. In conclusion, cocaine toxicity is potentiated by morphine and does not appear to be altered by naloxone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-169
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992


  • Cocaine
  • Death
  • Morphine
  • Naloxone
  • Seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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