Buprenorphine Effects on Morphine- and Cocaine-Induced Subjective Responses by Drug-Dependent Men

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Abstract

The effects of daily buprenorphine treatment (4 or 8 mg/day, sublingual) on reports of subjective effects after single intravenous doses of morphine (10 mg), cocaine (30 mg), and saline placebo were studied on an inpatient clinical research ward in 26 men concurrently dependent on opioids and cocaine (DSM-III-R). Latency to detection and certainty of a drug effect, as well as drug quality (intensity, euphoria, and dysphoria), were studied before and after 10 to 12 days of buprenorphine maintenance. Saline was accurately identified by all 26 patients during the drugfree baseline and by 25 patients during buprenorphine maintenance conditions. All patients accurately identified morphine during the drugfree period before treatment with buprenorphine, but 18 (69%) of 26 patients were unable to detect morphine during buprenorphine maintenance and 2 misidentified morphine as cocaine. Six men (23%) accurately identified morphine and reported that the intensity and quality of morphine's effects were equivalent to drug-free conditions. Cocaine levels in plasma 5 minutes after intravenous cocaine injection were equivalent before and during buprenorphine treatment and averaged 282.8 ± 43.6 and 295.2 ± 28.8 ng/ml during 4 and 8 mg/day of buprenorphine maintenance, respectively. All patients accurately identified cocaine before and during buprenorphine maintenance, and there were no significant changes in latency to detection and certainty of a drug effect or reports of cocaine-induced intensity or euphoria during buprenorphine treatment. The concordance between responses to morphine and cocaine during inpatient buprenorphine maintenance and drug use during the first 4 weeks of outpatient buprenorphine treatment was also examined in 16 men. The effects of buprenorphine on individual responses to an acute intravenous dose of morphine or cocaine during the inpatient study did not reliably predict the frequency of heroin or cocaine self-administration during the first 4 weeks of daily outpatient buprenorphine maintenance.

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