Experiments assessed the ability of repeated treatment with morphine to produce tolerance to morphine-like discriminative stimulus effects of buprenorphine, etorphine, methadone, morphine and nalbuphine. Before treatment, each compound evoked full morphine-like stimulus effects in rats trained to discriminate saline and 3.2 mg/kg morphine. During treatment, training was halted and a dose of 10 mg/kg morphine administered every 12 h for 14-18 days. Repeated treatment with morphine increased the ED50 for stimulus control by etorphine, methadone or buprenorphine 2- to 4-fold and that for morphine 4.5-fold. Repeated treatment produced an insurmountable tolerance to the morphine-like stimulus effects of nalbuphine, so that a dose 150-fold higher than the initial ED50 evoked only 40% generalization. Treatment with a lower dose of morphine (10 mg/kg every 24 h) produced a short-lived surmountable tolerance to stimulus effects of nalbuphine. For etorphine, methadone and morphine, tolerance to morphine-like stimulus effects was accompanied by tolerance to rate-suppressing effects. After treatment ended, the ED50 for stimulus control by etorphine, methadone or nalbuphine returned to initial values within 3 days; that for morphine, within 5 days; that for buprenorphine, within 10 days. These results demonstrate that repeated treatment with morphine produces cross-tolerance to compounds that exert morphine-like stimulus effects. Additionally, the results suggest that differences among these compounds in agonist efficacy may be revealed as differences in the degree of tolerance produced by morphine treatment.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics|
|State||Published - 1991|