Buprenorphine: An Opioid Mixed Agonist-Antagonist as Possible Antidote for Acute Cocaine Toxicity

  • M. Bansinath
  • V. K. Shukla
  • L. R. Goldfrank
  • H. Turndorf
Conference paper


In the patients presenting to the emergency departments, cocaine toxicity has become most common cause. Since heroin abuse among cocaine addicts is frequent, treatment strategies in the emergency medical management of intoxicated patients often include opiate antagonist naloxone. The mixed action opioid, buprenorphine offers several therapeutic advantages for the treatment of heroin abuse, because of its unique pharmacology. Furthermore, buprenorphine decreases cocaine craving. Therefore in this study, the effect of buprenorphine on acute cocaine toxicity was assessed in male Swiss Webster (SW) mice (20–24 g). Buprenorphine in dose dependent manner protected against cocaine-induced toxicity and increased (p<0.05) the LD50 and decreased the potency ratio of cocaine. However, neither naloxone nor naltrexone altered the lethality of cocaine (100 mg/kg). Buprenorphine pretreatment also significantly (p<0.05) attenuate cocaine-induced (80 mg/kg) increase in plasma lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity. The results indicate that buprenorphine could be of potential advantage over naloxone in the management of “speed ball” toxicity.


Speed Ball Acute Cocaine Heroin Abuse Kappa Agonist Swiss Webster 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Bansinath
    • 1
  • V. K. Shukla
    • 1
  • L. R. Goldfrank
    • 2
  • H. Turndorf
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiophysicsPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia
  2. 2.Departments of Anesthesiology and Emergency Medicine, School of MedicineNew York University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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