We compared the efficacy of two clinically available drugs with N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist properties, dextromethorphan and ketamine, in potentiating morphine-induced antinociception. Ketamine alone at 0.3-3 mg/kg had no effect on the hot plate test and at 10 mg/kg caused sedation/motor deficits. The antinociceptive effect of 5 mg/kg morphine was slightly enhanced by 1 mg/kg, but not 0.3 or 3 mg/kg, ketamine. Dextromethorphan alone at 45 mg/kg had no effect, but at 60 mg/kg caused sedation/motor deficit. At 15-45 mg/kg, dextromethorphan significantly and dose-dependently increased the magnitude and duration of morphine-induced antinociception. Dextromethorphan also potentiated morphine at doses that, by themselves, did not cause antinociception (1-2 mg/kg). Implications: Dextromethorphan was more effective than ketamine in potentiating morphine-induced antinociception. Dextromethorphan may thus be the drug of choice for testing the interactions between N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonists and morphine clinically.
(Anesth Analg 1998;86:825-9)