Pretreatment with hydromorphone, a mu-opioid agonist, does not alter the acute behavioral and physiological effects of ethanol in humans.Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2001 Jan; 25(1):9-17.AC
Endogenous opioid systems are thought to mediate at least some of the behavioral effects of ethanol. Opioid antagonists, like naloxone and naltrexone, decrease ethanol self-administration under a variety of conditions in different species of laboratory animals (e.g., rodents and nonhuman primates). Opioid agonists, like morphine, also alter ethanol consumption. However, the dose-response functions for opioid agonists are complex in that low doses increase ethanol self-administration, whereas moderate to high doses decrease ethanol self-administration. The results of prospective human laboratory studies that assessed the behavioral effects of ethanol after pretreatment with an opioid antagonist are mixed. The aim of the present study was to assess the acute subject-rated effects of ethanol (0, 0.5, and 1 g/kg) after pretreatment with hydromorphone, a mu-opioid agonist.
In the present experiment, the acute subject-rated, performance-impairing, and physiological effects of ethanol (0, 0.5, and 1 g/kg) were examined after pretreatment with hydromorphone (0, 1, and 2 mg), a mu-opioid agonist, in nine healthy volunteers. Volunteers received one of the nine possible ethanolhydromorphone combinations during each of nine experimental sessions.
Ethanol produced prototypical subject-rated drug effects (e.g., dose dependently increased ratings of "high"), impaired performance, and increased heart rate. Hydromorphone pretreatment generally did not significantly alter the subject-rated, performance-impairing, or physiological effects of ethanol.
The results of the present experiment suggest that hydromorphone pretreatment does not significantly affect the subject-rated effects of ethanol. Future human laboratory studies should test higher doses of hydromorphone. Future studies also might use more sophisticated behavioral procedures like self-administration, or perhaps drug discrimination, to determine if opioid agonists can modulate the behavioral effects of ethanol in humans.