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Keywords:

  • desmopressin;
  • drug addiction;
  • drug withdrawal;
  • morphine;
  • vasopressin

Aim

The aim of this study was to examine the effects of desmopressin on morphine withdrawal symptoms and vasopressin level in morphine-dependent subjects.

Methods

Wistar male rats were injected s.c. with morphine once per day for 5 consecutive days to induce morphine dependence. After morphine use ceased on day 5, an equal number of rats were assigned to one of four groups for either saline or desmopressin by either intraperitoneal (i.p.) or intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection. From days 5 to 10, urine was collected daily and tested for the presence of morphine, and withdrawal symptoms were monitored to assess the effects of desmopressin.

Results

Significant weight loss occurred among all morphine-addicted rats during the withdrawal period. With both methods (i.p. and i.c.v.), the period of urinary morphine excretion was shorter for the two groups that were given desmopressin (experimental groups) than the two groups that were not given desmopressin (control groups), and no significant difference in urinary morphine excretion was found between the two experimental groups. During the early stage of withdrawal, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms in the experimental groups was significantly lower than that in the control groups.

Conclusion

Desmopressin decreases the extent of morphine withdrawal symptoms, indicating that this agent might be appropriate for treating morphine addiction. Desmopressin appears to reduce withdrawal symptoms not by exerting an anti-diuretic effect but rather by exerting an effect on the central nervous system.